Murder Mystery: Canadian couple visiting Seattle killed; families offering huge reward to solve case

EVERETT,  Wash. -- The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office scheduled a news conference for Wednesday to provide new suspect information in a cold case murder from more than 30 years ago.

"Back on November 18th, 1987, Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg left British Columbia on Vancouver Island and came across on the Coho ferry to Port Angeles headed to Seattle," said Snohomish County Detective Jim Scharf.

Tanya, 17, and Jay, 20, were running an errand for his father. The couple vanished after getting off the ferry in Seattle.

“They obviously were abducted in downtown Seattle and King County," said Scharf.

Their bodies were found a few days later in two different counties.

“Jay’s body was found below High Bridge, which was on the Crescent Lake Road. Tanya was taken up to Skagit County, south of Alger, and she was shot and raped and left by the side of the Parson’s Creek Road,” recalls Scharf.

Their van was found in Bellingham near a Greyhound bus station several days later.

Skagit County Detective Ben Hagglund says, “The van was out and about for a full week between the time it was last seen on the ferry and with the time it was recovered in Bellingham and that’s a lot of exposure for who’s responsible for this crime.”

Items were stolen from the van including a Minolta camera. In 1990, the lens was tracked to a pawn shop in Portland, but police are still looking for the camera itself and a couple of other items. “There’s a green backpack the person might have had, a black jacket, and a Minolta camera. We even have serial numbers for the camera if we can locate it,” says Det. Scharf.

For the past three decades friends and family of Tanya and Jay have been raising money to help find their killer. Now, the reward is $25,000 Canadian dollars. “Since it’s been 27 years we don’t know if the person that did this is alive or not, but even if they’re not we feel that somebody out there has information that can help us resolve it by identifying that person because we do have DNA evidence that will be a positive match,” Scharf explains.

Investigators are more hopeful than ever that this cold-blooded killer will be caught. Hagglund adds, “This is a difficult case to be sure with international lines and interstate lines and multiple counties, but we believe it’s solvable with help from the public, with advances in technology and with continued efforts by law enforcement.”

If you know anything about the brutal murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg, call an anonymous tip into:
CRIME STOPPERS: 1-800-222-TIPS or use the P3 Tips App on your phone to submit the information. You can also submit it at 

There is a $25,000 Canadian cash reward for information leading to their killer's arrest.

CLICK HERE for information on how to TEXT A TIP to Crime Stoppers.