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How discarded coffee cup helped US police solve 1987 murders of Canadian couple

William Earl Talbott II was convicted in a trial that hinged on 32-year-old DNA evidence.

William Talbott II is helped to a wheelchair by Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputies after being found guilty (Kevin Clark/AP)
William Talbott II is helped to a wheelchair by Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputies after being found guilty (Kevin Clark/AP)

A man has been found guilty in the US over the 1987 killings of a young Canadian couple.

Seattle TV station KOMO reported that jurors deliberated for more than two days in Washington State before reaching their verdict on Friday against William Earl Talbott II in the trial that hinged on 32-year-old DNA evidence and genealogical technology.

Talbott had been arrested last year over the deaths of 18-year-old Tanya Van Cuylenborg and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jay Cook.

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Snohomish County Cold Case Detective Jim Scharf, right, shares details of the case of the 1987 double homicide of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg (Ian Terry/AP)

Prosecutor Justin Harleman told jurors that once Talbott became a suspect, investigators followed him, saw him discard a coffee cup and then tested the DNA from the cup, confirming it matched evidence from the crime.

Ms Van Cuylenborg and Mr Cook disappeared in November 1987 during what was supposed to be an overnight trip from their hometown of Saanich, British Columbia, to Seattle.

PA

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