Los Angeles

Idaho Man Arrested in Cold Case Murder of California Boy

After more than 30 years, an Anaheim couple is experiencing a roller coaster of emotions after detectives told them they may finally have found their little boy's killer.

It was nearly 34 years ago that Jeffrey Vargo's bicycle was found behind a pizza parlor.

He was only 6 years old.

His body was found the next day at a construction site in Pomona.

Since then, his parents have been waiting for a day of justice that may finally come.

"I'm very glad that someone has finally been captured and people don't forget who Jeffrey was," said Connie Vargo, his mother.

They remember he was a fun-loving 6 year old who loved his Matchbox cars and riding his bicycle. They were devastated when police found him strangled in July of 1981.

"We would just get up in the mornings and just cry from the depth of our soul ... that we lost him," Connie said.

Decades passed with few leads and no arrests.

But on Friday Pomona police called the Vargos with the kind of news they had almost given up on.

Kenneth Rasmuson, 53, had been arrested in Idaho.

Detectives told them DNA evidence had linked Rasmuson to Jeffrey's murder.

"It's still sinking in," Connie said. "I mean, it's almost disbelief."

The father, Bob Vargo, added: "We both wonder how many other victims are there out there that he affected."

Rasmuson was convicted twice of child molestation in the 1980s. The victims were an 11-year-old boy in Santa Barbara and a 3-year-old boy in Los Angeles.

He moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, as a registered sex offender in 2010.

Last year, Pomona detectives retested the clothes Jeffrey was wearing when his body was found near a dumpster at Imperial Highway and Old Santa Ana Canyon Road, the Vargos said.

That led them to Rasmuson and what they call the beginning of closure.

"I'm confident that he'll be convicted and he'll be sentenced and he'll never walk the streets again, hurt anybody again," Bob Vargo said.

Added Connie Vargo: "He was our son. He was our little boy and we're just so glad that finally justice is served after all these years."

Rasmuson is expected to be extradited from Idaho and brought to Pomona where he faces murder charges.

Bob Vargo said he would attend a trial if there is one.  Connie said she would not.

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