“Here there be monsters,” was used to describe the unknown evil ones that existed beyond the edge of ancient maps. Few of us take the time to consider the very real monsters that walk our streets.
Cops run across a lot of people in their careers. Good guys, bad guys, people who just make bad decisions. Rare are the sociopaths and plain evil doers. But there is another category. The ones you only run into a handful of times in a career. These are the monsters — the ones who defy explanation and make the strongest case for the death penalty when caught.
Kenneth Rasmuson is one of those monsters.
In the 1980s he kidnapped two young boys and murdered them. The murders were not discovered until years later, but he was arrested in 1981 for sodomizing an 11-year-old boy and again in 1987 for kidnapping and lewd and lascivious acts with a 3-year-old.
One of the boys he kidnapped and murdered was Jeffrey Vargo. Jeffrey was 6 years old when he was kidnapped from his neighborhood. I was on that call in July 1981. I was 24 years old and a rookie officer when we searched the neighborhood, parks, and hills for Jeffrey. I saw the panic and terror in his family’s faces and a neighborhood mobilized and searching for the missing boy.
Jeffrey’s body was discovered the next day on a construction site in the city of Pomona. But it wasn’t until March 2015 that Rasmuson was arrested, thanks to the magic of DNA.
In March 2015 I wrote about the sense of relief I felt at Rasmuson’s arrest and the fact that justice would finally be served.
That justice has now come.
On Monday, Rasmuson pled no contest to the kidnapping and murder of Jeffrey Vargo and Miguel Antero. Miguel went missing from his home on April 8, 1986. His body was found in Agoura Hills the same day.
In a 2015 interview with the LA Times, Miguel Antero’s mother, Ana Bradshaw, said she would call the Sheriff’s Department every year with the same message, “I’m a taxpayer. Do not close that case. We need to get that monster off the streets.”
The monster is off the streets and will never endanger another child again. Rasmuson will serve the rest of his life in prison.