Family of Murdered Boy Thankful LA DA’s Controversial Rules Were Blocked

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 18, 2021

The mother of a boy who was abducted and murdered in Orange County, California, in 1981 says she’s thankful that new charges have been filed against the alleged predator despite directives from Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón.

“We want to live to see this thing put to rest,” Connie Vargo, the mother of the boy told The Epoch Times.

“My goal is to have this over with, these things coming up like this, it’s very emotional for us. We relive that day over and over again. And these things come up and … it’s just heart-wrenching, and the hardest part is to think that he would ever be out again.”

Her 6-year-old son’s suspected killer, Kenneth Kasten Rasmuson, might have received an early jail release after newly implemented directives from Gascón forced L.A. prosecutors to dismiss the special circumstances and enhancements in the multiple murder prosecution.

Epoch Times Photo
Six-year-old Jeffrey Vargo was abducted from his Anaheim Hills neighborhood and murdered in 1981. (Photo submitted by Connie Vargo)

But on Feb. 16, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer announced he had filed special circumstance murder charges against the boy’s suspected killer to prevent an early release from happening.

Rasmuson, 59, from Sandpoint, Idaho, is currently being charged in the death of Jeffrey Vargo by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Rasmuson is accused of abducting Jeffrey from his Anaheim Hills neighborhood, sexually assaulting him, and then killing him in 1981. Additionally, he is charged for the same acts with a second 6-year-old boy five years later.

Under new initiatives implanted by Gascón, Rasmuson might have been released in about 16 years, if Spitzer hadn’t stepped in.

Little Jeffrey was riding his bike on the Fourth of July weekend in 1981 when he was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered.

“He was a happy little guy,” Vargo said of her son. “He loved riding his bike and skateboarding. He signed up for soccer; he was excited to play soccer and he never got to do that, and he had just started kindergarten. We had year-round school at the time, and he went to just three days and then it was Friday and then the weekend came and that’s [when the murder happened], and he never went back.”

Rasmussen was arrested 34 years after the incident, when DNA evidence from Jeffrey’s shirt linked him to the murder.

The alleged predator is currently on trial in Los Angeles County for both Jeffrey’s murder and that of the other 6-year-old boy.

Spitzer said he decided to file his own charges to ensure there is justice for Jeffrey.

He filed charges of one felony count of murder, one felony enhancement of special circumstances of murder during the commission of a kidnapping, and one felony enhancement of the special circumstances of murder during a lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14.

Rasmuson could face the death penalty if convicted on the charges.

“I really want to thank Todd Spitzer for taking this on, because this has gone on too long,” Vargo said. “The guy was arrested in 2015, so now it’s going on six years. They’ve had one preliminary trial, and that’s it. Now, why is it taking this long?”

Connie said the death of Jeffrey was a nightmare that changed their lives forever.

“This has deprived us of so much,” she said. “Jeff never got to learn how to drive a car, graduate from high school, fall in love, get married, have children.

“It has deprived us of having grandchildren, has deprived us of a lifetime of, you know, holidays and that kind of thing.”

She said she wants to see Jeffrey’s killer behind bars for the rest of his life.

“We never would have to worry about him again … it would be some peace of mind for us,” she said.

Connie told The Epoch Times that Spitzer adding charges for what happened gives them hope of obtaining justice for Jeffrey.

“I believe that there should be some justice reform, but just to put a blanket statement on, ‘We’re no longer doing life without parole, we’re no longer doing capital punishment’ [is unreasonable]. Doesn’t [Gascón] have to follow the law? Didn’t California vote for capital punishment?”

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis