30 years after a young B.C. couple was killed, new DNA tech could crack the case

Click to play video: 'Breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered B.C. couple'
Breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered B.C. couple
Washington state sheriffs are expected to announce that new DNA technology has led to a breakthrough in the cold case of a B.C. couple who were murdered 30 years ago. Rumina Daya reports – Apr 10, 2018

Detectives in Washington State are set to announce a major breakthrough in the 30-year-old murder case of a couple from B.C.

In November 1987, 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg and 20-year-old Jay Cook were murdered on a trip to Washington state.

Van Cuylenborg and Cook each lived with their parents in Victoria.

On November 18, 1987, the high school sweethearts decided to visit Seattle on an overnight trip.

They took the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, WA and drove down the Olympic Peninsula in a van. Investigators know they stopped to get gas at a business called Ben’s Deli. Receipts then show they took another ferry from Bremerton to Seattle.

However, investigators do not know what happened next.

WATCH: Crime Stoppers report on Jay Cook & Tanya Van Cuylenborg:

On Nov. 24, 1987, Van Cuylenborg’s body was discovered in a ditch 20 kilometres south of Bellingham, WA. She had been sexually assaulted and shot.

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One day later her wallet and keys were found discarded behind a Bellingham tavern and the van was found next to the Greyhound bus station.

On Nov. 26, 1987, Cook’s body was found under a bridge near Monroe, WA. He had been beaten and strangled to death.

Now three decades later, investigators say they they have a break in the case.

They have used a technology called Snapshot DNA Phenotyping and on Wednesday they will be unveiling new suspect information. The process can be used to predict the physical appearance of a person, including eye, skin and hair colour, facial features and ancestry.

No one has ever been arrested in this case.

Van Cuylenborg’s father believes the couple may have picked up a hitchhiker but no one knows what happened to them.

Weeks after the murders, both families started receiving disturbing letters from someone claiming to be the killer. However, in 2010, police were able to track down the author and and found him to be a homeless Canadian man in his 70s who was suffering from mental illness. They dismissed him as a suspect.

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Police will be revealing more details about this case in a press conference Wednesday.

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