63-Year-Old Man Arrested in 1980 Cold Case Murder of 14-Year-Old California Girl

Suzanne Bombardier
Photo: Family Photo

Antioch police announced Monday that they have arrested a suspect in the 1980 kidnapping and killing of a teenager whose story briefly jolted the nation and roiled a quiet East Bay suburb.

Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, of Antioch was arrested just before 5 p.m. Monday for allegedly kidnapping 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier while she was babysitting her nieces on a summer night 37 years ago and killing her.

Police detained Bacom outside of his home on the 300 block of West Madill Street in Antioch. Bacom was an acquaintance of the Bombardier family at the time the crime was committed, police said, without disclosing further details.

Investigators reopened the case in 2015 after a friend of Suzanne and the slain teen’s niece met with two retired detectives who were assigned to find the girl’s killer in 1980. The police used an FBI indexing system not available at the time of the crime to analyze DNA evidence extracted from the crime scene and trace it to Bacom.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said she will charge Bacom with kidnapping, rape, murder, oral copulation and murder with use of a deadly weapon.

Suzanne’s slaying was the oldest open homicide cold case on record in Antioch.

Numerous suspects had emerged over the years as police tried to determine what happened to the 14-year-old honor roll student at Antioch Junior High. With her bright eyes, blond hair and captivating smile, Suzanne came to haunt the community and its Police Department.

Friends remembered the slain teen for her bubbly spirit and ability to see humor in everything. She was commemorated in a junior high yearbook for having the best smile in her class. She swooned over Rod Stewart ballads and wanted to be a cheerleader.

But Suzanne’s life ended suddenly on June 22, 1980, when she disappeared from her sister’s townhouse at 3421 Hudson Court. Days later, a fisherman discovered her body in the San Joaquin River.

Suzanne had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the heart. The case drew national attention but went unsolved for 37 years.

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SOURCE: SF Gate, Rachel Swan and Annie Ma