When a Snohomish County jury found William Earl Talbott II guilty of two counts of murder last June, jurors put to rest the 30-year-old question of who killed 21-year-old Jay Cook and 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg in November 1987.
The young couple from Saanich, British Columbia, disappeared after heading to Seattle in the Cook family van to complete an errand for Cook’s father. The couple’s bodies were discovered about a week later — Van Cuylenborg’s in Skagit County and Cook’s in Snohomish County.
The methodology used to lead detectives to Talbott so many years after the murders is the subject of a TV show that will premiere at 10 p.m. May 26 on ABC.
In the series called “The Genetic Detective” genetic genealogist CeCe Moore details how she has been able to use DNA collected from crime scenes and from publicly searchable databases to lead investigators throughout the country to suspects who have evaded apprehension.
“I knew the potential these techniques had for solving mysteries — really, for any type of human identification,” Moore said in a news release. “Whether it is an adoptee looking to find their birth parents or helping law enforcement track down a potential suspect, this process provides answers in a new way and helps a family move beyond something that’s painful or has been burdening them.”
Cook and Van Cuylenborg’s cases are showcased in an episode titled “The Case of the Missing Lovebirds.”
The show will feature interviews from some of the Snohomish County investigators who worked the case.