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Convicted sex offender arrested in 1981 death of Anaheim boy

A registered sex offender has been arrested in Idaho in the 1981 slaying of a 6-year-old Anaheim boy

For more than three decades, the 1981 slaying of 6-year-old Jeffrey David Vargo of Anaheim remained unsolved.

The boy had been strangled and his body left behind a pile of sand at a Pomona construction site.

In 1997, Pomona police confirmed that they had reopened the case. Again the case went nowhere.

Every few years, Pomona police would assign a new officer to review the case and run the forensic evidence through a national database that includes DNA taken from convicted felons. But there were no hits.

Until late last year.

The search connected a registered sex offender who was convicted twice of molesting young boys in Southern California in the 1980s to the Pomona case. On Saturday, authorities announced they had arrested 53-year-old Kenneth Rasmuson in Idaho. He remains in custody at the Bonner County Jail in Sandpoint, Idaho, according to a statement from the Pomona Police Department.

Rasmuson is expected to appear before a local judge Monday. He will then be brought to California, where he will face murder charges, said Pomona police Lt. Eddie Vazquez.

On July 2, 1981, Vargo rode his bike to a fireworks stand in Anaheim, according to police. He was last seen near the stand at 5:30 p.m. Two hours later, his parents found his bike abandoned in an alley near the fireworks stand.

The next day, two construction workers found the child's body at the construction site in Pomona. The coroner's office said the boy was strangled.  

In 1982, Rasmuson was sent to Atascadero State Hospital after being declared a mentally disordered sex offender for sodomizing and orally copulating an 11-year-old Santa Barbara boy.  He was released after two years.  

In 1987, he was tried and convicted of kidnapping and molesting a 3-year-old boy in Los Angeles.  Rasmuson abandoned the boy naked in a deserted area miles from his home.  A judge described his actions as "cruel, vicious and callous as conduct can become," according to The Times.

That judge sentenced Rasmuson to 17 years in prison. 

For more California breaking news, follow AngelJennings.  She can also be reached at angel.jennings @latimes.com.

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