Investigators Use Genetic Genealogy To Arrest Suspect In Cold Case of 1987 Double Murder

(ABC NEWS)- Investigators in Washington state have used the same genetic genealogy methods to catch a suspect in a 1987 double murder cold case that was used to catch the “Golden State Killer.”


William Earl Talbott II, 55, was arrested in Seattle Thursday and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg.


Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jay Cook, were found dead in two separate locations in western Washington in November 1987 after they left their home in Victoria, British Columbia, for an overnight trip to Seattle, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.


The purpose of the trip was to buy furnace parts for Cook’s family business, and the two planned to sleep in their 1977 bronze Ford van in Seattle’s SoDo district overnight, ABC Seattle affiliate KOMO reported.


They were last seen alive after taking a ferry to Seattle, authorities said. Their families filed a missing persons report two days later when they did not return home, KOMO reported.


Talbott, who would have been 24 at the time of the murders, was identified through the use of genetic genealogy, which uses DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between an individual and their ancestors, according to the sheriff’s office.


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