FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KTVU) - 31 years of waiting is finally over for a Fairfield family. Police announced Tuesday they have identified a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of 3-year-old Clark Toshiro Handa, who vanished from his home n 1984.
The suspect, 55-year-old Michael Fejerang, is already in state prison in Chowchilla, serving a 26-year-term for multiple child molestations.
Police won't divulge what broke the case: whether they have DNA, a confession, informant, or the child's remains.
They also don't rule out other people involved.
"He was very cute, very huggable, just darling, and he used to go fishing with my dad," reminisced uncle Earl Handa, who said he was saddened and depressed to hear the confirmation that Clark, who everyone called Toshiro or Toshi, was dead.
"Your heart always thinks, we're going to find out something wonderful might have happened, that he was somehow with some family that wanted him, and was living a good life," Handa said somberly.
The case was baffling from the beginning.
Toshi had gone to sleep in his bunk-bed, sharing the room with other siblings, the night of Aug 22, 1984.
When his mother came in the morning, she found the window open, Toshiro gone, and a ransom note. But they weren't a wealthy family, and the kidnapper never pursued the ransom.
Friends and family searched and circulated posters, but police won't say if they ever considered Fejerang, then 23, as a suspect.
Leads surfaced over the years, but didn't pan out.
Then In 2011, a cold-case unit reopened the case, and with help from the FBI, lead to Fejerang, who had remained in Solano County after the crime.
"It just goes to show that no case is truly ever closed, " Fairfield Police Lt. Rob Lenke told KTVU, "and our goal is to bring as much justice as we can to the families. It will never bring their child back, but hopefully it brings some closure to them."
KTVU news reports from 1984 show Toshiro's siblings posting flyers and helping search for him.
"This doesn't happen to people like us, it's just put us in a daze," his sister Connie Parker said at the time.
Toshiro's father Ron, who made pleas for his son's return, is long-divorced, but still lives in Fairfield.
He told KTVU Fejerang was a friend of his step-daughter's.
"I can tell you the wheels of justice are turning to him," said Handa, "and we've been wondering when was the last time someone was executed in California."
Still, Handa says he is a church-goer, and forgives Fejerang.
He also says when Toshi was never found, he coped the only way he could.
"I had two kids to raise so I basically buried myself in raising the kids and working," explained Handa.
The house, and the street, where the abduction happened are gone now, replaced by a strip mall and auto row.
For Toshiro's uncle Earl, the arrest makes him sad for his parents, the child's grandparents, who died without any answers.
"It really destroyed her, hurt her, her and my dad," admitted Earl.
"Now that I'm a grandparent, I think about how my parents felt, how much they cared about him, I just think, I couldn't go through that."
Clark Toshiro Handa would have turned 35-years-old Dec. 5, 2015.