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A genealogy chart made up of pink and blue rectangles used by Snohomish County Sheriff to identify suspect in 1987 murder case.

In 1987, Jay Cook, 20, and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, a couple from Canada, were brutally killed while they were vacationing in Washington State.

On Friday, the Snohomish County sheriff’s office announced that it had a suspect in custody in the rape of Ms. Van Cuylenborg and the murders. William Earl Talbott II, 55, of Seatac, Wash., was arrested on Thursday. An important break came once again as a result of DNA sleuthing techniques similar to the ones used last month to crack the Golden State killer case.

“We never gave up hope that we would find Jay and Tanya’s killer,” said Ty Trenary, the Snohomish County sheriff at a news conference. “Yesterday’s arrest shows how powerful it can be to combine new DNA technology with the relentless determination of detectives.”

A not guilty plea was entered for Mr. Talbott and bail was set at $2 million on Friday, the television station KOMO reported.

As in the Golden State killer case, investigators uploaded DNA taken from well-preserved crime scene evidence to the public genealogy site GEDmatch. That...