On Monday, police in Antioch, northern California, arrested 63-year-old Mitchell Lynn Bacom for kidnapping, raping and killing Suzanne Bombardier 37 years ago.
Bombardier vanished between 1.30am and 4am while she was babysitting her nieces at her sister's apartment in Hudson Court on June 21, 1980.
Her body was found in the San Joaquin river a week later. She had a single stab wound to the heart.
Bacom, who had already been convicted and released from jail for rape, robbery and sodomy, was a suspect at the time.
He knew the Bombardier family, though police will not say how, and was feared to have been involved but there was no definitive evidence linking him to the killing.
Mitchell Bacom, 63, has been arrested for the rape and murder of Suzanne Bombardier, a 14-year-old girl who was killed in northern California in 1980
In 2015, the case was revived. In the last year, evidence that was collected at the time was tested using new DNA technology and it returned a match with Bacom.
He was arrested on Monday night at his home and is now in custody on charges of kidnapping, rape, oral copulation and murder.
Antioch police announced the charges on Facebook and explained how they were able to make the breakthrough after almost four decades.
'When the biological evidence was originally collected in this case, DNA testing did not exist as a method of determining guilt in our justice system.
'Over the years, the Antioch Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office have monitored developments in DNA testing in the hopes that advancements would be made allowing this evidence to be processed and a DNA profile developed.
'In 2015, the decision was made to submit the biological evidence to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Laboratory in an effort to develop a DNA profile.
Suzanne's body was found five days after she vanished. She had a stab wound in her heart
The teenager was babysitting her nieces at her sister's apartment in Antioch (above) when she was snatched between 1.30am and 4am. Police say she knew Bacom but have not revealed how
Bacom had already been arrested for rape and robbery before Suzanne's murder. He is pictured in a 1973 mugshot
'This lab was equipped to conduct some of the most advanced available DNA testing
.'In early 2017, the department was notified that a CODIS hit was made tentatively identifying Mitchell Lynn Bacom as the perpetrator,' their statement said
Bacom had already been incarcerated in 1973 when Suzanne went missing.
A year after her murder, he was arrested again for rape and robbery and was jailed for 24 years. In 2002, he was arrested again for failing to register as a sex offender.
On the night of her disappearance, Suzanne was babysitting her three young nieces.
She was on the phone with a friend until 1.30am. When her sister returned home at 4am, she was gone.
Two retired detectives who worked on the case at the time tried to reignite interest in 2014.
They contacted Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons, an author who had also expressed an interest in the case after stumbling upon Suzanne's grave.
It is not clear if any of their efforts contributed to Bacom's arrest.