Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg were murdered after travelling to Washington state in 1987. TheSnohomish County Sheriffs Department will hold a press conference Wednesday to discuss new evidence inthe murders of the Victoria couple. (Photo submitted)

Police hope new tools will help solve 30-year-old murder

New DNA analysis being used on case of Victoria couple killed in Washington state

Police are hoping to write a new chapter to a 30-year-old murder mystery.

It’s been more than 30 years since a Victoria couple were found murdered during a trip into Washington state. Jay Cook, 20, and 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg were running an errand to Washington state and borrowed Cook’s father’s van to make the journey. The Oak Bay high school sweethearts, who were living in Saanich at the time, boarded the Coho Ferry on Nov. 18, 1987, crossing to Port Angeles. They were last seen alive in the Bremerton/Seattle area.

The Snohomish County Sheriffs Department has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday in Everett, Wash. to unveil new information learned from Snapshot DNA phenotyping. The victims’ family members will also be on hand for the press conference.

Snapshot is a new forensic DNA analysis service that accurately predicts the physical appearance and ancestry of an unknown person from DNA.

“It sounds like it’s pretty exciting, pretty new,” said Sgt. Jereme Leslie with Saanich Police, adding the investigation has primarily been focused in Washington state.

A timeline into the couple’s disappearance reveals they were reported as missing on Nov. 20, 1987. Four days later, Van Cuylenborg’s body was discovered in a ditch on a rural road near Alger, about 20 kilometres south of Bellingham. She had been sexually assaulted and then shot.

On Nov. 25, Van Cuylenborg’s wallet and keys were found discarded behind a Bellingham tavern. The van is located next to the Bellingham Greyhound bus station.

Cook’s body was found on Nov. 26 under a bridge near Monroe, Wash. Cook had been beaten and strangled.

Following the discovery of their bodies, their van was located in Bellingham; the van was beside a Greyhound station and some of Van Cuylenborg’s belongings behind a nearby local tavern.

Anyone with information is asked to contact local police or Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-222-8477 or on the web at victoriacrimestoppers.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Saanich roads doused in more than 300 tonnes of salt during snowstorm

Crews cleared roads around the clock during the mid-January storm

Hydro pole fire closes portion of Metchosin Road in Colwood

Motorists are advised to avoid the area of Metchosin Road near Royal Bay

Funds raised through off-road cycling event will help improve Central Saanich bike trails

Tripleshot Cycling Club presents $3,000 cheque to Nature Trails Society

‘We thought it was an earthquake,’ homeowners okay after tree falls

Mature tree falls on roof of Victoria Avenue house

VIDEO: The Victoria byelection leads a selection of today’s news stories

A selection of Greater Victoria top stories for Jan. 17

Theft victim confronts suspects with baseball bat on Vancouver Island

RCMP in Nanaimo seek to identify of two people alleged to have used a stolen credit card

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Clerk bruised, traumatized after armed robbery at Nanaimo liquor store

Few details on male suspect in Wednesday incident, says Nanaimo RCMP

One last blast of winter tonight for parts of the Island before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Most Read