Convicted Child Molester Arrested in 1981 Killing of 6-Year-Old Boy in Pomona

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A registered sex offender convicted of sexual crimes against children has been arrested in Idaho in connection with the 1981 cold case homicide of a 6-year-old Anaheim Hills boy, police announced Saturday.

Kenneth Rasmuson is seen in a photo on the Idaho state police's sex offender registry.
Kenneth Rasmuson is seen in a photo on the Idaho state police’s sex offender registry.

Kenneth Rasmuson, 53, was taken into custody Friday in Sandpoint, Idaho, according to a news release from the Pomona Police Department.

DNA evidence linked Rasmuson to the 6-year-old Jeffrey Vargo’s death, police said.

The victim’s partially-clad body was discovered by two workers at a Pomona construction site on July 3, 1981, a day after the boy was last seen on his bicycle, according to the news release and the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner later determined Jeffrey had been strangled.

Rasmuson, who was in custody at the Bonner County Jail in Idaho, was expected to be extradited back to Pomona where he would face a murder charge in the cold case.

The suspect is a registered sex offender in Idaho who was convicted in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties on three counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 years, according to the Idaho state police’s online sex offender registry.

He was also convicted of kidnapping for the purpose of a sexual offense in L.A. County, the online record showed.

The convictions came on Dec. 17, 1981, in Santa Barbara County and May 21, 1987, in L.A. County.

Jeffrey Vargo was killed in July 1981 when he was 6-year-old. More than 40 years later, police made an arrest in the case. (Credit: Vargo family photo)
Jeffrey Vargo was killed in July 1981, when he was 6. More than 30 years later, police made an arrest in the case.

According to the L.A. Times, Rasmuson pleaded guilty to kidnapping and molesting a 3-year-old boy. The toddler, who had been abandoned in a deserted area, was found naked near a highway.

Rasmuson had “committed an atrocious sexual act upon the child, including  … anal penetration,” a deputy district attorney was quoted at the time as saying.

L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert T. Altman called the crime “cruel, vicious and callous as conduct can become” when he sentenced Rasmuson to the maximum 17-year-prision term,” the Times reported.

“It’s been the court’s experience that people who commit these offenses simply do not change,” the judge said at the time. “They ought to be locked up for as long as conceivably possible for the protection of society.”

After being convicted in 1981 of sodomizing and orally copulating an 11-year-old Santa Barbara boy, Rasmuson was sent to Atascadero State Hospital, according to the Times. He was released in 1985 and ordered to participate in an outpatient program.

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