The SeaTac man accused of killing a young Victoria couple in 1987 has pleaded not guilty.
William Earl Talbott II, 55, entered his plea at in a Snohomish County courtroom on Tuesday. Talbott is facing two charges of aggravated first-degree murder in the deaths of Jay Cook, 20, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18.
The high school sweethearts had travelled from Victoria to Port Angeles on Nov. 18, 1987, via the Coho ferry. They were last seen in the Bremerton-Seattle area but did not arrive in Seattle despite buying tickets at the Bremerton ferry dock. They were reported missing on Nov. 20, 1987.
Van Cuylenborg’s body was discovered in a ditch 20 kilometres south of Bellingham, Wash. on Nov. 24, 1987. Then on Nov. 26, 1987, Cook’s body was found south of Monroe, Wash. about an hour’s drive away, near the Washington State Reformatory. His body was covered by a blue blanket that did not belong to the couple.
Their murders became a cold case for more than 30 years before Talbott was arrested in May this year. Investigators had uploaded DNA from the crime scene to a public, online genealogy database. They then used a family tree to identify Talbott as a suspect and collected a fresh DNA sample from him to confirm a match.
Talbott was first charged with one count of aggravated first-degree murder in Van Cuylenborg’s death, with investigators saying at the time that they expected to lay a second charge in Cook’s death after gathering more evidence.
The second charge of aggravated first-degree murder was filed on Friday. If convicted, Talbott faces life in prison.