ANTIOCH, CA — Antioch police have arrested a suspect in connection with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a 14-year-old girl that has gone unsolved since 1980.
Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, is accused of stabbing Suzanne Bombardier to death in one of the area’s oldest cold cases. Bombardier went missing while babysitting two of her nieces, and investigators later determined that she was taken against her will during the early morning hours of June 22, 1980. Her body was found floating in the Antioch River five days later.
Investigators determined that Bombardier died from a single stab wound to the chest — and also concluded that she had been raped.
Local authorities have credited retired Antioch police Captain Leonard Orman, who was hired back to work on this and other cold cases, with making significant progress in the investigation, according to the Mercury News.
Police at the time were able to obtain physical evidence from the body, but investigators had to wait until technology improved before they could generate a usable DNA profile. The profile was run through a federal database and eventually matched to Bacom who — according to his family — has been employed as a truck driver, a mechanic, and had other odd jobs over the years.
Former lead investigators on the case said that Bacom knew the Bombardier family and had tried to date both Suzanne’s sister and her mother. He had long been considered a suspect in the case.
Bacom reportedly has a violent criminal history. According to Fugitive.com, he was convicted of burglary, assault with intent to murder, and sodomy in 1974, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
In 1981, Bacom was again arrested and convicted of burglary, robbery, rape, and sodomy — and this time, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison. In 2002, he was sentenced to another four years behind bars after failing to properly register as a sex offender.
In the Bombardier case, the murder charge includes enhancements that accuse Bacom of burglary, kidnapping, and sexual assault — which could make him eligible for the death penalty. Bacom did not enter a plea and has waived his right to a speedy trial, so prosecutors have warned that the case could take a long time.
Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove says, “We have reports from 37 years ago and have done and will do more investigation this year.” He added that the case is still in its preliminary stages.
The Antioch Police Department will be working with other law-enforcement agencies to investigate whether Bacom has been involved in other murders or sexual assaults. They ask that anyone with any information contact Detective Leonard Orman at (925) 779-6918.
Recommended For You:
Main photo: Suzanne Bombardier and Mitchell Lynn Bacom [Fugitive.com / KRON 4 (screenshot)