Pulitzer Prize Winner, Edward Humes, brings us a true crime story. How Genetic Genealogy Solved A Cold Case Double Murder.

This is a true story of murder in the Pacific Northwest. When two young people leave Canada to run an errand in the U.S., they never return. Searches were extensive, but the evidence was sparse.

This was a very cold case until Detective Jim Scharf with a lot of help from a genealogist tracked down a killer and made an arrest.

This is the story of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook. Murdered in the 1980s during a trip to Seattle. No murder weapon, no suspects, and no witness. The only clue was a palm print on the back window.

With the lack of any evidence, they are pretty sure it isn’t the first time the killer has done this. This person is good at cleaning up a crime scene.

At the time, genealogy just wasn’t advanced enough to be of help. But with the help of all of the genealogy kits popping up people are finding out information they never thought possible. And then there are the ethical questions. I think however if you upload your results online, you aren’t going to expect privacy.

There are over 250,000 unsolved murders in this country. Could we help solve those with DNA? Maybe. Just know that your genetic material could be used to identify a criminal. I wonder if that makes people less apt to participate?

This was a really good look at all aspects of DNA usage.

NetGalley/November 29th, 2022 by Dutton


  1. This sounds very interesting. I’m always intrigued by the use of DNA to identify criminals. Thanks for sharing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: