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Man Arrested In Murder Of Teenage Girl

Last updated on Monday, August 26, 2013

(LA PORTE) - Indiana State Police have arrested a man suspected of murdering a teenage girl two decades ago, authorities said Friday.

NBC News reports, Jason Tibbs, 38, was arrested at a traffic stop in La Porte, Ind., and is being charged with the 1993 murder of Rayna Rison, who was 16, police said.

"We're still kind of reeling," the victim's father, Bennie Rison, told ABC News. "It's going to take time to absorb all of this."

In March 1993, Bennie Rison called police to declare his daughter missing after she did not return home from her shift at a local animal hospital. Her body was found in a pond a month later, and autopsy results ruled her death a homicide.

Her case attracted national attention at the time, including an appearance on "America's Most Wanted." But a suspect remained elusive, until now.

Rayna's younger sister, Wendy Hakes, now 35, told ABC News that her sister and Tibbs had been classmates since middle school. She said she does not believe he has left La Porte for an extended period of time since the murder.

Hakes described Tibbs as "kind of a roughneck."

"He wasn't interested in school. He was interested in doing other things that weren't necessarily productive for society," Hakes said. "He liked to get in trouble."

The investigation into Tibbs' arrest was conducted by Indiana State Police Detective First Sergeant Al Williamson and LaPorte Police Detective Brett Airy. They have been investigating this case for five years, according to the Indiana State Police. The investigation is still ongoing.

Williamson could not be reached for comment. The Indiana State Police referred all questions to the La Porte County Prosecutor's Office.

Bob Szeilagyi, the La Porte County Prosecutor, said Tibbs' court date was set for Sept. 13. He has not yet retained an attorney, Szeilagyi said.

Tibbs is being held without bail in the La Porte County Jail, police said.

With Tibbs' arrest, family members said they finally have some closure.

"We never gave up. We were always hoping," Bennie Rison said.

"We've been stuck in the 'Who did this and why?' for 20 years," Hakes told ABC News. "Now we know who did this. We just have to figure out the why."

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