Sandpoint man arrested for 1981 murder of 6-year-old boy

A 53-year-old Sandpoint, Idaho man has been arrested in connection to a 33-year-old cold case murder of a 6-year-old boy. 

On Friday, Detectives from the Pomona Police Department in California arrested 53-year-old Kenneth Rasmuson for the murder of a 6-year-old boy in 1981. 

Detectives say on July 2, 1981 6-year-old Jeffrey David Vargo left his house on his bike to go to a fireworks stand in Anaheim. A short time later, his parents found his abandoned bike in an alley. The next day, Vargo's body was found by two construction workers in Pomona. The Coroner's Office determined he had died of asphyxia due to strangulation. 

Speaking to the Orange County Register, Lt. Eddie Vasquez said detectives reopened Jeffrey David Vargo's cold case and through DNA evidence, they were able to link Rasmuson to the murder. 

Also talking to the Orange County Register, Vargo's mother expressed relief that a suspect in her son's murder has finally been caught. 

“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.”

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. 

An article from The Bonner County Bee in October 2010 warned the residents of Sandpoint that Rasmuson had just moved into the community after being released from a mental hospital in California. 

Rasmuson is now in custody at the Bonner County Jail in Sandpoint and will be extradited back to Pomona to face murder charges. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Pomona Police Department at 909-620-2085. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call "Crime Stoppers" at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).

Recommended for you