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Tacoma police hope new profile will crack cold case murders

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TACOMA, Wash. -- It's been nearly three decades since two Tacoma girls were murdered by the same man, and investigators think they're now getting close to cracking the cold case.

"This is one of those cases that the community really want to see us solve," said Loretta Cool with the Tacoma Police Department.

Jennifer Bastian was riding her bike in Point Defiance Park in August 1986 when she disappeared. The 13-year-old was never seen again.

"It was the most painful thing you can go through," said Jennifer's mom, Patti Bastian.

In March 1986, 12-year-old Michella Welch was playing in Puget Park with her sisters. Police found her body later that night in a nearby gulch.

Nearly 30 years later, the cold case is finally heating up. Detectives with Tacoma Police Department's cold case unit recently released what they believe is the killer's profile, which has led to more than 60 new tips in the case.

"In the time since the crimes occurred, a lot of different things have changed with the way police investigate crimes," Cool said.

DNA testing and new technology have given investigators much more insight into who the killer is.

They believe he lived in Tacoma's north end or had family there, which would have made him familiar with the area's parks and trails.

Police believe he likely lived as a transient in 1986, staying at parks and wooded areas and traveling on foot or by bicycle.

He would have routinely carried a knife and likely had mental health issues, according to police. Detectives also believe he was estranged from his family and had a difficult time keeping jobs.

Anyone with information about the murders is asked to call Tacoma police.
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