Sheriff: Man arrested 21 years after killing Spanaway babysitter

Sheriff: Man arrested 21 years after killing Spanaway babysitter
James Mitchell

SPANAWAY, Wash. -- Thanks to the persistence of the victim's family and a young witness, the man suspected of killing a Spanaway babysitter in 1993 was finally arrested Thursday in Florida.

According to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Linda Robinson was stabbed multiple times inside her apartment while babysitting a 7-year-old girl and 6-month-old baby, who were sleeping in another room.

A pot left on the stove set off the apartment's fire alarm, waking up the children. The 7-year-old girl found Robinson's body and ran to a neighbor for help.

The Sheriff's Office was unable to find whoever was responsible for Robinson's murder.

In May 2013, Robinson's father and the girl who found her body contacted the Sheriff's Office to check on the status of the investigation, prompting Sergeant Tim Kobel to review the case file.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Kobel noticed unusual blood droplets that could have been left by the suspect. The blood-stained items were retrieved from evidence and sent for DNA testing.

In October, the DNA was matched with James Mitchell, a childhood neighbor and schoolmate of Robinson, according to the Sheriff's Office. Mitchell is a felon with convictions for drugs, stealing cars, sexual assault, armed robbery and more.

After Mitchell's DNA was reportedly found on a number of other items from the crime scene, a nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest July 29.

On Thursday, US Marshals apprehended him in Leesburg, Fla.