Tags: cold case | washington state | teen murder case

Police Crack Cold Case Murder Nearly 30 Years Later

Police Crack Cold Case Murder Nearly 30 Years Later

By    |   Friday, 04 October 2019 02:24 PM

For nearly 30 years cops have been searching for the man who murdered a Washington state teenager in the bushes behind her high school. Now they can finally close the case.

Patrick Leon Nicholas was charged Thursday for killing Sara Yarborough, whose body was discovered on the campus of Federal Way High School in December 1991, and for attempting to commit second-degree rape, The Seattle Times reported. It was two discarded cigarette buds that helped police crack the cold case.

Investigators at the time said Yarborough had been strangled with her own nylons. They found male DNA on several items of her clothing but were unable to ever find a match.

Last week they made a break in the case after receiving a call from a forensic genealogist who had identified a potential suspect after uploading the DNA retrieved from the crime scene onto a genealogy website and creating a family tree.

Nicholas fit the genetic profile but the genealogy website information was not enough to definitively nail him. He had previously been convicted for attempted first-degree rape and was released from prison four years later. Then, in 1994 he was charged with first-degree child molestation. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault.

With Nicholas on their radar, detectives needed something definitive to prove he was Yarborough's killer. They monitored him closely until finally an opportunity arose.

On Sunday a detective saw Nicholas walk out of a Kent dry-cleaner and light up a cigarette. When he had finished smoking, he threw the cigarette butt to the ground and went back inside. Later he walked outside again to smoke another cigarette. He discarded the butt but also unknowingly dropped a napkin to the ground. The detective collected the three items to send off for analysis. They had a DNA match.

"Few things are more satisfying in law enforcement than being able to tell a victim’s family that a suspect has been caught," King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht said Thursday after the arrest of Nicholas, according to Q13 Fox. "Last night, deputies were able to tell Sarah Yarborough’s family that."

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For nearly 30 years cops have been searching for the man who murdered a Washington state teenager in the bushes behind her high school. Now they can finally close the case.
cold case, washington state, teen murder case
348
2019-24-04
Friday, 04 October 2019 02:24 PM
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