DA outlines evidence in girl's 1980 killing

A preliminary hearing began Monday in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez for Mitchell Bacom, charged with special-circumstances murder in the 1980 killing of 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier in Antioch. 

Suzanne was an honor roll student at Antioch Junior High. She was taken in the middle of the night while babysitting her older sister's kids

Her sister Stephanie Mullen had a connection to Bacom, a recently paroled sex offender.

"Mitchell Bacom was dating the victim's older sister," said prosecutor Mary Knox.

Five days later, Suzanne's nude body was pulled from the San Joaquin River, about a quarter mile from the Antioch Bridge. 

She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the heart.

"Her murder was brutal," Knox said.

Bacom was about 26 at the time.. He was initially cleared as a suspect through a polygraph and a false alibi, police said. But years later, he was charged after investigators say DNA evidence tied him to the killing. 

"Through follow-up and the dna results, we've obviously uncleared him," said Leonard Orman, who retired as an Antioch police captain but rejoined the department as a detective. He is seeing this case through.

"It's gratifying that to the extent that there is any satisfaction to the family, as far as resolution, we're able to bring that, it doesn't  bring her back, but it does bring justice," Orman said.

Knox agreed, saying, "This case had a tremendous impact on so many people. Losing a 14-year-old daughter. Three women lost their little sister, all of her friends."

Mullen took the stand on Monday, describing publicly for the first time how she came back home and her heartache when she learned someone had taken her. The hearing continues Tuesday nd a third day in July. Afterward, Judge Theresa Canepa will decide if there's enough evidence to hold Bacom over for trial.