The Forever Witness: How DNA and Genealogy Solved a Cold Case Double Murder

Dutton. Nov. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781524746278. $28. CRIME
Does the individual’s right to privacy outweigh law enforcement’s mandate to identify people who commit violent offenses? That’s the question that Pulitzer Prize– and PEN Award–winning journalist Humes (Burned) seeks to answer as he examines the use of genetic genealogy in cracking the cold case in 2018 of the brutal 1987 murders of Tanya Van Cuylenborg and Jay Cook in Snohomish County, WA. The heartbreaking tale of this double murder is interwoven with the account of the detectives working to solve the case to bring closure to the young couple’s family and friends. The result is a thoughtful discussion of the ethical issues surrounding GEDmatch, the DNA database that genetic genealogists used to solve famous cold cases such as the Golden State Killer.
VERDICT An excellent addition to any true crime collection, this one is sure to intrigue readers who are interested in delving deeper into the hows and whys of solving cold cases.
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