Former officers offer assistance to solve cold case of Suzanne Bombardier, murdered in Antioch 35 years ago

Suzanne Bombardier

Suzanne Bombardier

By Allen Payton

Former Antioch police officers want to work on the cold case of Suzanne Bombardier, who was 14 when she was murdered on June 22, 1980, after being kidnapped, raped and stabbed through the heart. Her body was later discovered after being dumped in the river.

Greg Glod, a former Antioch Police Detective, who spent 26 years with the Secret Service and is now the Deputy Director for Threat Analysis of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., is spearheading the effort. Joining him are retired Antioch Police Sgt. Larry Hopwood and Detective Ron Rackley.

There are suspects in the case that can be investigated,” stated Glod, who was a juvenile sexual assault detective at the time and worked the case.

According to Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons, who wrote about the case, earlier this year:

Thirty-five years ago this June, Suzanne Bombardier was babysitting her nieces in Antioch, California. She was talking to a friend of hers, then around 1:30 in the morning said she was ‘really beat’ and was going to bed. It was the last time anyone talked to her. Sometime between 1:30 and four, Suzie (as she was known to her family and friends) was kidnapped. Her body was found several days later in the Delta. It was an incredibly sad moment in Contra Costa history, foreshadowing the kidnappings of other girls (Tara Burke, Amber Swartz, Illene Mischelhoff, Michaela Garecht and Nikki Campbell) and boys (Mitchell Owens and Kevin Collins).

I have an interest in this story: Susie is buried near my grandparents at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette. I wrote about her in Salon, which was republished on Alternet.org.

Following is an excerpt from Gibbons’ article:

They lived in Antioch, California. These days, it’s known as the city where Phillip Garrido held Jaycee Dugard hostage for 18 years.

When her sister Stephanie got home that night, the house looked fine. There were no signs of a struggle or forced entry. Suzanne wasn’t on the couch, but her sister figured Suzanne had fallen asleep with the girls while putting them down. Her sister headed to bed. It wasn’t until the next day when their mother called, looking for Suzanne, that they both began to worry. The only trace of her was her suitcase still near the couch.

They called the police. There were no signs of a forced struggle or entry. They had to wait 24 hours until they could start searching (customary back in 1980) . On June 27, her report card arrived in the mail. She received straight A’s, ending up on the honor roll. The same day a body was spotted by a fisherman in the San Joaquin River near Antioch. Suzanne’s stepfather identified the body. She had been stabbed through the heart. Her killer was never found.”

According to other news reports, at that time, “On Friday June 27th, a nude body was found in the nearby San Joaquin river. Dental records provided by the family confirmed the body was indeed Suzie’s. She had been stabbed. The gold necklace she wore was missing.

Antioch police questioned several suspects including a boy named Terry. Terry, according to Suzie’s best friend Leesa Metznger, was a boy Suzie was seeing. He was slightly older. He had an alibi which was checked out by the police. Other suspects were cleared as well.”

Bombardier’s case was profiled, last year, on the Defrosting Cold Cases website for their case of the month, the Antioch Herald, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Gibbons also had a commentary about Susie, broadcast on KQED.

Susie’s murder took place during a time when police services were cut back, and although her case received attention,” Gibbons added, “It didn’t get national attention like Elizabeth Smart or other missing children.”

We just need Antioch Police Chief Allan Cantando to allow us to help his department,” he said. “There would be no cost to the public and we could get started, right away.”

Cantando spoke about the idea of a cold case unit made up of retired police officers.

It’s something that we’re not going to consider,” he stated. “That model doesn’t work for us. We don’t have the staffing. They have this back east, where they have larger departments. These volunteers are not the ones who are going out and doing the work. They’re basically reading the reports and giving paid staff direction to go out and follow up on leads.”

We’re in the process, right now trying to fight violent crime,” said Cantando. “We’re not alone. There aren’t a lot of departments doing this.”

Periodically we review our cold cases,” he added.

Glod responded to Cantando’s comments, in an email.

There are numerous police departments in the United States and California, effectively utilizing retired police officers and criminal researchers to support cold case units,” he stated. “They support the police departments by spending the endless hours of reviewing the cases, developing leads and research to provide the support that the detectives and officers do not have the time to conduct.”

Charlotte, North Carolina’s retired cold case unit, was presented a distinguished service award by the Department of Justice in Washington, DC for their involvement in solving numerous cold cases,” Glod argued. “This model has repeatedly proven to be effective in departments of all sizes. This concept is strongly recommended to law enforcement by the Department of Justice, the International Association of Police and National Institute of Justice, all recommending the utilization of retired detectives and police officers as a strategic means to support policing now and in the future.” Implementing a Cold Case Unit  Cold Case Squads

In addition, the National Institute of Justice provides grant funding to police departments for this cold case unit concept,” he offered. “In a recent publication in Volunteers in Police Service, an article titled ‘An Emerging Sector in Law Enforcement, Volunteers in Investigations’ profiles the success across the country with the utilization of retired local, state and federal law enforcement professionals.” VIPS article

There is a baby boom generation of retired law enforcement and professionals from other related fields in Contra Costa County that would be more than willing to provide volunteer assistance to the City of Antioch,” Glod continued. “This resource must be utilized in the police culture, such cities as Antioch, who are currently experiencing high crime rates. Crime is not only stopped by additional police and detectives on the street, but also behind the scenes with a cadre of experienced and dedicated volunteer professionals, who support the operational mission of policing, thus improving the identification and conviction of criminals.”

With regards to budget constraints and high crime there needs to be creative and new strategic thinking in law enforcement, many departments in the United States are developing the methodologies,” he added.

The tragic murder of Suzanne Bombardier, a beautiful, 14-year old girl from Antioch, who was so full of life, which was horrifically cut short, should never be forgotten by the citizens of Antioch, California,” Glod concluded. “This case clearly needs to be reopened by the law enforcement authorities in Antioch and Contra Costa County. They should leave no stone unturned until this case is solved and justice served for Suzanne and her family and friends who have suffered for so many years.”

Rackley summed up the interest the retired officers have in the case.

We want closure for the family and ourselves, too,” said Rackley, who took the original report. “We believe there are still more investigative leads available.”

In response, Cantando said, “If they have any leads, they haven’t shared them with us, yet. If anyone else out there has any leads on this case, they need to contact the Antioch Police Department with their information. They can call Lt. Morefield at (925) 779-6929.”

This case is not closed and we work cold cases (including this case), but we do have to prioritize in order to optimize our effectiveness,” he added. “When new leads are presented to us, we follow up on them. Lastly, we do not release information to the media that we are working a specific cold case in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.”

 

 

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Suzanne Bombardier


18 Comments to “Former officers offer assistance to solve cold case of Suzanne Bombardier, murdered in Antioch 35 years ago”

  1. Kay Lane says:

    The chief’s reasons for no support are ridiculous, What if it was his child? Greg Glod was well-known and respected in this community – his suggestions have value.
    Our chief is as sad as the Mayor!

  2. The_dude says:

    where can I sign a recall the mayor petition?

  3. […] Former officers offer assistance to solve cold case of Suzanne Bombardier, murdered in Antioch 35 ye… […]

  4. Rich Mceachin says:

    I was a Det back then too in Antioch. Greg and I have spoke many times since then and feel several leads need to be followed up. There are resources available for active federal agencies who do nothing but work cold cases like this all they need is to be asked…this is dumb on the thinking of Antioch PD

  5. angelica jorgensen says:

    I wish they would follow up on the lisa norell case and find her murderer after all. Maybe then google can stop slandering innocent people and ruining their lives by posting false accusations and broadcasting false ideas about certain individuals all over global social media!

  6. Larry says:

    Yeah you can’t expect Antioch PD to work a cold case as they barely work a fresh and hot one. I have given up hope of havng a good police force, As the last 4 times I have called dispatch the police never came, and when I went down to file a report about the reason for calling I was basically laughed out of the station as they refused to do a report, during the 3 hours they are open 4 days out of the week. Their answer to my problem “move somewhere else”

  7. Amber Burke says:

    I went to school with Suzanne. Also, attended her wake. That summer changed the way I viewed the world. I have often wondered if they caught her killer. I believe she knew him. I can’t believe it was 35 years ago. The thought of what she went through brings
    Tears to my eyes. I hope the case is reopened and the Bastard is found. I have comfort knowing he will face the Lord someday….

  8. Suzie's friend says:

    I attended Suzie’s funeral. I was way to young to comprehend the tragic loss at the time. I am angry that the case is not in progress and being worked on right now. I pray that there will be a miracle and her killer(s) will be brought to justice. It’s not too late. You deserve it Suzie. <3

  9. Pauline says:

    As usual Antioch’s Chief of Police lets down the community. He doesn’t have enough staff? What is he doing about it? He has ample funds a while now, what are they spending it on? All we hear is they are trying, well obviously they are not doing a good job of it, so step aside and let someone else do it.

    He needs to go, he is as useless as the Mayor.

  10. sandy says:

    I would be happy to volunteer my time and work on Suzie’s case as well as Lisa Norell’s.
    The people who know me, say that I should have been a detective.

    Criminal Investigations happens to be my hobby.
    Many people don’t know that Contra Costa County had as many as 7 serial killers at one time.

    We would need an Army to fix that.

    It is a shame what the “people” have done to destroy the police force all over America.
    Police are afraid to draw their weapons, for fear they will be sued.

    There is something wrong with that picture.
    Bad people are getting away with crimes because of it.

    We need to do something to reinforce our police department.
    When that happens we will have a much safer place to live , with a better police department.

    Perhaps more neighborhood watches would help? Don’t be afraid to report a crime.
    Take back our town, fight crime.
    So we won’t have more victims Like Suzie and Lisa.

  11. The stepdad all the way.he was a meth head creep

  12. He was [with] a lady named Mary on the side. Very sketchy character..I lived close by on Truman ct at the time.The step dad was an acquaintance of my relatives..im sure they have checked him out , but enough ? Remember no forced entry..

  13. Paul says:

    Another failure from the City of Antioch. Tunnel vision.

    City manager, city mayor and city police chief need to go away.

    City of Antioch went from number 1 to number 100 in my opinion.

  14. […] cold case squad. They launched a media campaign to raise awareness of the cold case. (See related article). Later that year the DNA was sent to the crime lab for […]

  15. […] I am proud of my guest blogger Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons and with wish to express gratitude to the Antioch Herald for placing my blog’s name and link in their research articles. I appreciate […]

  16. Barry says:

    Congratulations to Antioch PD, Contra Costa Co. DA office and the fine retired officers, detectives and journalists that pushed to bring attention to Suzanne’s case. Shame on Cantando for his bureaucrat foot dragging (no one has informed us of any leads…) and short sighted-ness in embracing these wonderful volunteers. My personal “thank you” to everyone involved in solving this case.

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