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Normal Topic Mitchell Lynn Bacom, Cleared After Polygraph "Test" in 1980 Kidnaping, Rape, and Murder of 14-Year-Old Suzanne Bombardier, Implicated by DNA Evidence (Read 204 times)
George W. Maschke
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Mitchell Lynn Bacom, Cleared After Polygraph "Test" in 1980 Kidnaping, Rape, and Murder of 14-Year-Old Suzanne Bombardier, Implicated by DNA Evidence
Jan 23rd, 2018 at 6:23am
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Mitchell Lynn Bacom


Nate Gartrell of the Bay Area News Group reports that a man charged with the "1980 kidnapping, sexual assault, and stabbing death of a young Antioch [California] honor roll student" had been cleared by investigators "when he took a polygraph with 'inconclusive' results." Excerpt:

Quote:
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2018/01/22/man-linked-to-1980-child-killing-through...

MARTINEZ — Decades before authorities arrested and charged a man in the 1980 kidnapping, sexual assault, and stabbing death of a young Antioch honor roll student, investigators had cleared him when he took a polygraph with “inconclusive” results, according to recently released court records.

Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, was charged last December with kidnapping, raping, and murdering 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier, nearly 38 years after he allegedly dumped her body in the San Joaquin River within a day of taking her by force from her sister’s Antioch apartment, where she was babysitting two young children. He has not yet entered a plea and remains in county jail.

The affidavit to Bacom’s arrest warrant, obtained by this newspaper on Friday, tells the story of the nearly 40-year investigation, revealing that police interviewed Bacom a month after Suzanne’s death, but cleared him when he took a polygraph test and a district attorney inspector said he believed Bacom’s denials. Investigators considered dozens of suspects and persons of interest over the years — including a notorious serial killer — before refocusing on Bacom, whose DNA was matched to the crime through an FBI database.

The records reveal other things about Bacom’s past: he was labeled an “anger rapist” during a probation review process for a 1974 conviction of raping and attempting to kill a woman, in a case with eerie similarities to Bombardier’s killing. He was also interviewed by then-Pittsburg police Det. John Conaty in connection with a series of killings of young females in East Contra Costa around the late 1990s, which are believed to be committed by the same person, but have never been solved.

Bacom and Suzanne’s sister had briefly dated previously, and police believe he was somewhat familiar with Suzanne, who turned up missing while babysitting for her sister on June 21, 1980. Bacom is alleged to have shown up at her sister’s Hudson Court apartment and convinced her to let him in. Her body was found by a fisherman floating near the Antioch Bridge days later.

A month after Suzanne was killed, then Antioch police Det. Gregory Glod interviewed Bacom, who took the polygraph and denied killing Suzanne or having any sexual attraction to her. He also denied that he’d seen her at her sister’s apartment the night she was taken. A DA inspector told Glod that the results were inconclusive but “leaning toward truthful,” and that he didn’t believe Bacom was responsible.

A polygraph is a nearly century-old invention that monitors the body’s respiratory system and blood pressure to find indicators that a person is nervous, which may suggest they’re lying. Polygraph results are inadmissible as evidence, as they’re based on the assumption that the subject will get nervous when he or she lies, and their accuracy has long been a matter of controversy.

“We still use polygraphs; however, they should not be used as the sole source for clearing a suspect. Quite frankly, they are a good interrogation tool,” said Antioch police Det. Leonard Orman, the lead investigator in the case. “It is cases like this that really make you understand why they are not admissible in criminal cases.”

  

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