Genetic sleuthing again IDs a murder suspect in a cold case | Science News

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Genetic sleuthing again IDs a murder suspect in a cold case

Crime-scene DNA let investigators find distant cousins and fill in the family tree

By
10:42am, May 23, 2018
Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook

COLD CASE FIRED UP  In 1987, a young Canadian couple, Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, (left) and Jay Cook, 20, (right) was killed while on a trip to Seattle. Police used a new, and controversial, DNA detective method to find and arrest a suspect in the case.

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

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