A Washington man has been found guilty of murdering a young Saanich couple more than 30 years ago.William Earl Talbott ll was arrested in May 2018 and charged with murder in the deaths of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg and 20-year-old Jay Cook, who were killed in November 1987.He pleaded not guilty to the crimes. On Friday, the Daily Herald reported that a jury found him guilty of two counts of aggravated murder.
Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook in undated handout photos. The young couple were killed while on a road trip to Washington state in November 1987.
DNA, which led to a breakthrough in the case, played a big role in the trial.For more than 30 years, detectives tried to find the killer. A breakthrough came last year when DNA technology helped create composite drawings of a person of interest in the case.Police then released images of what the man may have looked like at ages 25, 45 and 65.
Snohomish County Cold Case Detective Jim Scharf, left, presents new images rendered using phenotype technology of a potential suspect in the unsolved case of the 1987 double homicide of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg during a press conference in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Ian Terry /
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Cook and Van Cuylenborg boarded the Coho ferry to Port Angeles on Nov. 18, 1987, in the Cook family van.The high school sweethearts planned to return home the next day via the Interstate 5 highway. At 10:16 p.m., they bought tickets at the Bremerton ferry dock to catch the ferry to Seattle. The pair had planned to sleep in the van near the former Kingdome stadium. A missing person’s report was filed two days later.Cook’s body was found days later dumped on the side of the road in Snohomish County, covered with a blue blanket. He had been strangled.Van Cuylenborg was also found slain in a ditch in neighbouring Skagit country. She had been tied up with zip ties, sexually assaulted and shot in the back of the head.
High school sweethearts, Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook, vanished on a trip to the Seattle in 1987. Their bodies were found a few weeks later in separate locations in Washington state.
November 25 1987. Search & Rescue squad from Mt. Vernon, Washington search area where body of 18 year old Saanich resident Tanya Van Cuylenborg was found, Lonely road near Alger, Washington was scene of grisly find. Negative # 87-9887.
Brian Kent / Vancouver Sun /
Missing poster for Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook.
December 5 1987. Skagit County Sheriff Gary Frazier examines Jay Cook’s 1977 Ford van in which he and his girlfriend Tanya Van Cuylenborg were on their way to Seattle. Cook’s 1977 bronze-colored Ford van was found abandoned in Bellingham parking lot a week after the couple went missing.
Mark van Manen / Vancouver Sun /
November 25 1987. Search & Rescue squad from Mt. Vernon, Washington clamber through the underbush where body of 18 year old Saanich resident Tanya Van Cuylenborg was found, Lonely road near Alger, Washington was scene of grisly find. Directing group was Skagit County Sgt. Dave Willard. On right is Deputy Sheriff Mark Sonnabend.
Brian Kent / Vancouver Sun /