May 7, 2020
Cuyahoga Falls police today announced the arrest of 67-year-old James Zastawnik of Cleveland for the December 1987 murder of Barbara Blatnik.
Blatnik was just 17 when her nude, strangled body was found near Blossom Music Center, some 30 minutes away from her home, five days before Christmas.
The three-decade-old cold case had received renewed interest in the past year after the Porchlight Project, a nonprofit that provides assistance to families of the missing and murdered in Ohio, paid for DNA testing of samples taken from under Blatnik's fingernails and forensic genealogy of the results by Colleen Fitzpatrick and her team at Identifinders International.
"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, Identifinders and BCI coming together to creatively look for a solution to resolving a brutal murder." Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis said in a statement"We were very pleased to work with the Cuyahoga Falls Police using Genetic Genealogy to bring closure to the Blatnik family," Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders International said.