268: Long Time Gone: The Murders of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook

Episode 268: On November 18, 1987, Jay Cook, 20, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, a young couple from Vancouver Island, went on a road trip to Seattle, Washington. Unfortunately, they were never seen alive again.

Their bodies were discovered weeks later in separate locations. Tanya had been raped, shot, and left in a ditch in Skagit County. Jay was found strangled in the woods near Monroe, about 60 miles away.

The case went unsolved for over three decades until 2018, when authorities were able to use genetic genealogy to identify a suspect. He was arrested and charged with the murders. The man pleaded not guilty. In 2021, after his trial, the man was the first to be convicted using genetic genealogy. The couple’s killer was subsequently sentenced to life behind bars.


The Murder of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg – Unsolved Mysteries

The disappearance of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook: Following a decades-old cold case – CBS News

Sheriff’s Office Seeks Information for Unsolved 1987 Murders | Snohomish County, WA

Sheriff’s Office Detectives Seek the Public’s Help to Identify Suspect in 1987 Double Homicide Cold Case | Snohomish County, WA

Arrest Made in 1987 Double Homicide Cold Case | Snohomish County, WA

2018 Annual Report | Skagit County Sheriff’s Office

Suspect arrested in 1987 deaths of a young couple from BC | HeraldNet.com

My cousin, the killer: Her DNA cracked a 1987 double murder – Victoria News

Parabon NanoLabs: Engineering DNA for Next-Generation Nanotech, Analytics, and Forensics


Chelsea Rustad | AMA : IAmA

How DNA Expert CeCe Moore Solved 109 Cold Cases

Is murder in your DNA? – The Fifth Estate season premiere – YouTube

Killer of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook Sentenced | CBC News

Life in prison for 1987 killer of young Canadian couple | Seattle Weekly

Man convicted in the murder of Saanich couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987 – Victoria News

Man appealing genetic genealogy murder conviction was a violent child, his family told police | CBC News

State Of Washington, Respondent V. William Earl Talbott II

Conviction for 1987 murders of Tanya van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook overturned | CBC News)

Guilty verdict in 1987 killings of Saanich couple restored | CTV News

The Forever Witness by Edward Humes

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