Crime-scene DNA let investigators find distant cousins and fill in the family tree
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office
For the second time in less than a month, DNA probes of family trees in a public database have helped police catch a murder suspect.
On May 17, detectives in Washington arrested 55-year-old William Earl Talbott II of Seatac for the 1987 double murder of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg. A new DNA sleuthing technique called genetic genealogy led to Talbott’s capture. His arrest came just weeks after police in California used the new trick to identify a suspect in the Golden State Killer case (SN Online: 4/29/18).
Arrests in these two cold cases are probably just the beginning of the technique’s use.
Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA-forensics company based in Reston, Va., announced May 8 that it has already used 100 genetic profiles generated from crime-scene DNA to search the public