Former Santa Barbara man charged in 2 cold cases

October 26, 2015
Kenneth Rasmuson

Kenneth Rasmuson


A twice convicted violent predator from Santa Barbara is facing capital murder charges in the 1981 and 1986 murders of two 6-year-old boys, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials announced Friday.

Earlier this year, Kenneth Rasmuson, 53, was extradited from Idaho to California to face charges for the murder of 6-year-old Jeffrey David Vargo. DNA testing requested by a detective tied Rasmuson to the 1981 murder.

On July 2, 1981, the first grader disappeared while riding his bike in Anaheim Hills. The next day, construction workers found Vargo’s body behind a pile of sand. He had been strangled.

On Friday, prosecutors said that DNA evidence also ties Rasmuson to the 1986 murder of 6-year-old Miguel Antero.

On April 8, 1986, Antero was reported missing. He was last seen outside his Agoura Hills home. Deputies later found Antero’s body in a nearby creek. The boy had been sexually assaulted, stabbed and strangled.

The courts have convicted Rasmuson twice before for violent sexual assaults against children.

Jeffrey Vargo

Jeffrey Vargo

In 1981, when Rasmuson was a 19-year-old working at a Santa Barbara Domino’s Pizza Parlor, he lured an 11-year-old boy to a gully where he attacked and raped the boy. He then served several years in prison before being sent to Atascadero State Hospital.

In 1985, hospital staff dubbed Rasmuson a “star patient” and determined he was not likely to offend again and he was released.

Two years later, Rasmuson snatched a 3-year-old from a Los Angeles sidewalk and raped the boy. A passing motorist found the child wandering naked in the Augora foothills.

In 1985, a judge sentenced Rasmuson to 17 years in prison. After serving his sentence, Rasmuson was transferred back to Atascadero State Hospital where he spent an additional three years in custody.

In 2007, after Rasmuson agreed to take Lupron to reduce his sex drive, he became the first “sexually violent predator” to be released to live in Santa Barbara County. In 2010, he moved to Idaho to live with his parents.

On Oct. 20, Rasmuson was charged for the capital murder of Antero.

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Whoever made the decision to parole this animal is also responsible for the murders of these children and should be held accountable to their families.


I think in cases like these, and Jessica Lundsford comes to mind, once convicted, the judge should ask the parents if they have a preference with regard to sentencing. The parents’ wishes should be carried out. If the parents want the death penalty, then they should set an execution date for 5 days to give all people who want to watch time to get there, and time for the dead man walking to stew and agonize a bit, make peace with his/her people, and then do the deed. Why drag it on for years and years?

Everyone I know who has ever worked at ASH says it is a RARE inmate that actually does not re-offend. Pedophiles crave children like a drug. Imagine when you crave ice cream. That would be the pervert’s equivalent of a craving for a 6 year old. Sick.

They need to dust off the electric chair for this guy.


One reason I DON’T support rehabilitation for the criminally insane, rapists, pedophiles etc, i.e. ASH, because there is NO REHABILITATION. For all the nar-do-wells that want to save these poor people, then let us release them to your home and your custody and YOU are responsible for their actions. Shouldn’t be hard because…………they’ve been rehabilitated right?


There is no rehabilitation for anyone. Jail is to punish and to keep society safe from that person. After 10 years of living in a cage someone is all of a sudden rehabilitated. It’s ridiculous.


There they are again…..those dead, cold sociopath eyes. I often wonder how these dark souls jump into a fetus and assume a human form. They then commit these shocking, sadistic crimes and then they just go about their lives….living as if nothing ever happened (while the family of this child suffers a terrible agony). And WHY do we not sense this in these “people” like this who live among us? How can we not see how demented and dark they are?


Because we don’t have clairvoyance. I can’t read minds can you? Sadly we can only be reactive after the fact BUT that is when we should be one and done!!!! None of this three years and out bullshit. Maybe we should ask why the psychiatrists don’t see it??


There is a thing called human intuition. We don’t have to be a full-blown psychic. In the book “The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us”, Martha Stout speaks of “The Seventh Sense”: “To keep the blinders off our life-enhancing seventh sense, as with most improvements in the human condition, we must start with our children. A part of healthy conscience is being able to confront consciencelessness. When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are not strengthening her prosocial sense; you are damaging it—and the first person she will stop protecting is herself”.


Yea got the human intuition (known since a kid thanks) point is, is that you are BLAMING everyone else for not catching these types with intuition when the PSYCHIATRISTS that are paid by US to evaluate them are the very one’s that let him out!!! THEY are the ones you should BLAME!!!


One look at that sweet baby’s face, and to think about the unspeakable things that happened to him and others…releasing animals to hunt again is insanity.

Francesca Bolognini

What I do not understand is why someone with this kind of disorder is ever allowed out.

There is something fundamentally wrong with people who commit these types of acts. They do not ever “get over” this type of disfunction. It is not a question of “paying their debt to society”, they are seriously mentally impaired. Why are they ever allowed into the general population, once they are identified? It is not a matter of their behavior while incarcerated. That, in fact is the perfect arguement for keeping them there. No temptation, no problem. They are acting on an irresitable compulsion and no amount of “rehab” will make it go away. Since there is a strong component of violence (which also led to homicide) involved here, I fail to see how taking away his sex drive would solve the problem.

I think there is also something fundamentally wrong with the system that thinks they should be released and a huge amount of hubris attached to the idea that they have “cured” the guy.


I, as well as others, believe this is how evil visits us. In this book “The People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”, M. Scott Peck, M.D. believes that there are those who veer so far outside the norms of human behavior, that there simply is no other answer for the detached, cold behavior they display. In her book “The Sociopath Next Door”, Martha Stout says ““About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. It is not that this group fails to grasp the difference between good and bad; it is that the distinction fails to limit their behavior. The intellectual difference between right and wrong does not bring on the emotional sirens and flashing blue lights, or the fear of God, that it does for the rest of us. Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, one in twenty-five people can do anything at all.”

Raping and murdering toddlers and small boys means as much to these fiends as buying a soda out of a vending machine. Zip…nothing….they feel nothing.


If he went to Atascadero in 1985 and served 3 years, how did he commit the crime in 1986 ?


Check closer. He committed a crime in 1981, served a few years and was released in 1985 see paragraph seven and eight.


Then the paragraph 10 date must be in error.


Touche. Looks like in writing of the article they have the liner time line all screwed up. Obviously he was out and obviously he committed the crime as charged or he wouldn’t have been re-imprisoned.

Saro Rizzo

The perfect candidate for the death penalty.


Kudos to the detective who researched these cold cases. Whatever happened to the three strikes law? This guy is scum. I hope he never gets out of prison. And so much for rehabilitation of these types of offenders.


Didn’t Moonbeam do away with “Three Strikes” ?