Robert Washburn

Robert Dwayne Washburn was arrested on May 11, 2018 and charged in the August 4, 1986 rape and murder of 13-year-old Jennifer Bastian in Tacoma, Washington.

Bastian was riding her bike in Point Defiance Park to train for an upcoming bike tour. She was last seen at around 6:00 pm. Her body was not found until three weeks later in a wooded area in the park. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

A DNA profile was developed from semen found in the crotch area of Bastian’s bathing suit. The FGG analysis was conducted by Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders.

Fitzpatrick analyzed the Y-STR profile and its male lineage and provided investigators with the name Washburn. Detectives then placed Washburn on a list for collecting of DNA from high-priority suspects. Washburn was contacted. He voluntarily provided a check swab to police. He lived very close to the area at the time of Bastian’s murder.

This case was long thought to be connected to the nearby and very similar murder of Michella Welch, see above, until DNA profiling showed there to be two different perpetrators. Washburn’s name was in the police files because he had called in a tip in the earlier murder – which happened just months before.

Washburn pled guilty and was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Before this case was cleared, investigators collected from about 160 male suspects.


Dateline. “Evil Was Watching.” NBC News, April 8, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2020.

King 5 News. “Suspect Charged in Tacoma Teen’s 1986 Murder.” King 5 News, May 11, 2018. Accessed December 28, 2020.

Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. “Man Charged With 1986 Murder of Jennifer Bastian.” Auburn Examiner (Press Release), May 14, 2018. Accessed December 28, 2020.

Mikkelsen, Drew. “Man Gets 27 Years for Cold Case Murder of Tacoma Girl Jennifer Bastian.” King 5 News, January 25, 2019. Accessed December 28, 2020.


First Name Robert
Last Name Washburn
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2016-04-00
Case Cleared 2018-05-11
IGG Org Identifinders


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1090 Jennifer Bastian 13 1986-08-04 Tacoma, WA Tacoma PD; FBI First degree murder Guilty plea entered by defendant Pierce CO SUP CT

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.