Cuyahoga Falls Police arrest 67-year-old James E Zastawnik in 30-year-old Cold Case murder of Barbara Blatnik

May 06, 2020

On December 20th 1987 Cuyahoga Falls Police responded to O’Neil Rd near Blossom Music Center for a report of a female who was found deceased in a wooded area. Detectives investigated countless leads throughout this 30 year cold case. Today, James E Zastawnik was arrested for the murder of Barbara Blatnik based on new evidence that was provided through advancements in DNA technology.

“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, and BCI coming together to creatively look for a solution to resolving a brutal murder.” stated Police Chief Jack Davis.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that our Cuyahoga Falls Police Department has done to help ensure that Barbara Blatnik’s family can finally find the closure that they deserve,” stated Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters. “I want to express an immense amount of gratitude to everyone at The Porchlight Project for the funding that they provided to help get the needed DNA testing that was done to close this case. They have done an incredible service to the Blatnik family and our Police Department.”

Colleen Fitzpatrick of Identifinders International stated “We were very pleased to work with the Cuyahoga Falls Police using Genetic Genealogy to bring closure to the Blatnik family.”

Cuyahoga Falls Police, Ohio BCI, Identifinders International, and The Porchlight Project working in conjunction were able to provide much needed closure to the Blatnik family.

Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to contact the Cuyahoga Falls Police Detective Bureau at 330-971-8318.

Arrested:
James E Zastawnik
Age: 67
Cleveland, OH

Charge:
Murder 2903.02, 1st Degree Felony