After nearly three decades, Ohio police have arrested a man they believe brutally raped and murdered a 17-year-old girl before disposing of her body in the woods. James Zastawnik, 67, was arrested Wednesday for the 1987 rape and murder of Barbara Blatnik after authorities said they discovered new evidence through DNA. On Dec. 20, 1987, Cuyahoga Falls Police found Blatnik's partially-naked body in the woods near Blossom Music Center. Authorities believe she was raped and beaten before she was fatally strangled.
After no leads or arrests for three decades, the non-profit Porchlight Project stepped in to help secure new DNA testing on already existing evidence. That testing, authorities said Wednesday, led them to Zastawnik. “It is great to see justice done for Barbara Blatnik. The detectives who worked on this over the years never gave up on finding the killer, especially Detective Tlumac. This is also a great example of cooperation between law enforcement, the Porchlight Project, and BCI coming together to creatively look for a solution to resolving a brutal murder,” Cuyahoga Falls Police Jack Davis said in a statement.