Cold case murder suspect from Sandpoint will be sent back to Cal - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cold case murder suspect from Sandpoint will be sent back to California

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Kenneth Rasmuson's booking photo after his arrest on Friday (PHOTO: Lt. Eddie Vazquez via Bonner County Jail) Kenneth Rasmuson's booking photo after his arrest on Friday (PHOTO: Lt. Eddie Vazquez via Bonner County Jail)
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  • Sandpoint man arrested for 1981 murder of 6-year-old boy

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SANDPOINT, Idaho - A Sandpoint man accused of murdering a 6-year-old boy in California in 1981 will be extradited back to the state as soon as possible. 53-year-old Kenneth Rasmuson waived his extradition rights on Monday morning in Bonner County, meaning he will be sent to California as soon as arrangements are made. 

Detectives in Pomona California say they used DNA evidence to link Rasmuson to the 33-year-old cold case. 

In July 1981, the partially clothed body of 6-year-old Jeffrey David Vargo was found at a construction site. Vargo was last seen alive on July 2, 1981 when he left to go to a fireworks stand. Detectives determined Vargo had died of asphyxia due to strangulation. 

Rasmuson is a twice convicted sex offender in California, but according to Idaho's Supreme Court data repository, has no criminal record since moving to Sandpoint in 2010.  

According to the Idaho State Police Sex Offender Registry, Rasmuson is registered as a sex offender for four offenses. Two of those offenses were in Santa Barbara, California for Lewd and Lascivious Act with a Child Under 14 Years of Age in December of 1981, five months after the disappearance of the boy in California. He was released in 1985 and was arrested two years later in May 1987 in Los Angeles for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Child Under 14 Years of Age and Kidnapping for Purpose of Sexual Offense.

After collecting their evidence, police in Pomona notified the Sandpoint Police Department, who then assisted with surveillance of Rasmuson and collection of DNA evidence. 

Neighbors told KHQ on Monday they began noticing unmarked police cars in the area for the past few weeks. Once they received the go ahead, Rasmuson was arrested without incident. 

Rasmuson denied KHQ's request for an interview on Monday. 

Vargo's mother told the Orange County Register her family is relieved after hearing of Rasmuson's arrest. 

“We have mixed emotions,” Vargo told the Register. “After 33 years, someone is finally caught. This person took so much of our lives and now that he's been arrested, hopefully, justice will be served so he can't hurt anyone else.”
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