Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Genetic Genealogy for Another Arrest

Genetic genealogy has led to an arrest in another cold case, the New York Times reports. A similar approach was used in the Golden State Killer case.

Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, a young Canadian couple, were killed while on vacation in Washington State in 1987, the Times adds. They had driven from British Columbia to near Seattle for what was supposed to be a short trip, but after buying a ferry ticket, they were never heard from again, according to the Times and Buzzfeed News. A few days later, their bodies and van were uncovered in different locations.

Police have now arrested William Earl Talbott II for Van Cuylenborg's rape and murder and Cook's murder. The arrest, Buzzfeed News reports, comes after police there worked with Parabon Nanolabs, which recently announced it had used a genetic genealogy approach to uncover suspects in about 20 of the 100 cases for which it had uploaded genetic profiles to the genealogy website GEDmatch.

For this case, Buzzfeed News reports that a close match was found between the crime scene samples and a second cousin of Talbott's. After homing in on Talbott through a family tree, police in Washington State watched him for a few days and collected a cup he discarded for DNA testing, which confirmed the match, the Times says.

The Times adds that Talbott has entered a not guilty plea.