- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - A Lakewood man suspected of killing a 12-year-old in Tacoma over three decades ago has been arraigned in Pierce County Court.

KCPQ-TV reports 66-year-old Gary Hartman pleaded not guilty Monday to murder and rape charges in the 1986 death of Michella Welch.

Prosecutors say she was playing in a Tacoma park on a spring day with her two younger sisters when she rode her bicycle home to get sandwiches. Her sisters went to play in another part of the park and when they returned found the sandwiches but no sign of Michella.

Searchers found her body later that day.

Hartman was charged Friday after investigators said DNA technology helped pinpoint him as the suspect.

Welch’s mother Barbara Leonard said Monday she finally feels that she has a little bit of closure.

Hartman is being held on $5 million bail.


Information from: KCPQ-TV, http://q13fox.com/

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