UPDATE: Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

On November 18, 1987, Jay Cook and his high-school sweetheart, Tanya Van Cuylenborg, took the ferry from Victoria, Canada, to Washington State to go camping.  Jay was 20 years old. Tanya was 17. It was their first trip together and they’d planned on a romantic getaway.

It was just an overnight trip; Jay and Tanya were expected home the next day. When their families didn’t hear from them the following evening, they began to worry. Sometime during their journey, Jay and Tanya’s peaceful vacation turned into a violent nightmare.

It was not long before Jay and Tanya’s bodies were found. Investigators believe it was most likely that Jay and Tanya met their killer on the 10:20 p.m. ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, and that it may not have been the killer’s first murder.

Jay and Tanya’s case remained cold until May 2018, when authorities took 55-year-old William Talbott II into custody and charged him in connection with the murders of Jay and Tanya. The break in the case came when forensic experts created a profile on a genealogy website based on the DNA gathered from the case. It came back with a match to a relative of Talbott’s.

In June 2019, Talbott’s trial began and he was found guilty of Jay and Tanya’s murders. Talbott was sentenced to life in prison.


See the original Unsolved Mysteries segment on this case streaming in S2:E5 with Robert Stack and S5:E22 with Dennis Farina. Also on Lifetime and Escape in SP110.


  1. Gabrielle

    Good detective work


  2. Dreu

    Guilty. Great work law enforcement to never give up on these cold cases!


  3. Butch


    …ooh, you’re so edgy.


  4. Patricia Ann Bell

    John I don’t think you’d say that if they were your children.


  5. John

    Love the fact he was able tk get away with it for so many years


  6. Jessica

    I watched this show as a young child and it helped me to realize that the world isn’t always friendly. My mother thought it was important to watch each and every episode.She would call family and friends because they watched it too, they would talk about each episode. My mother is also a skeptical person when it came to the supernatural shorts, but she appreciated and liked that the show presented facts and never gave a yes or no… But always said “you be the judge.” I hope that the new series keeps it the same and does an hour long with many different stories like the original. The police and investigators do all they can but sometimes they need a little extra help from the public. I found that by watching most of the episodes that there are people out there that truly do know something and even if it is small it’s still a contribution. Please keep it real and keep it the same! As a dedicated fan for always… Unsolved Mysteries I can’t wait until your return.


    • Birgitta Jorgensen

      Hi Jessica. I am from Faroe Islands and live in Denmark, and I just found this show non YouTube, and am watching all Seasons, all episodes, I can’t wait to sit down to watch every day, even tho I never watched TV before, I do not even have TV, I watch documentaries and lectures only. But this show caught me. The reason why I reply to you is because I have been thinking exactly the same, it helps me to realize that the world isn’t always friendly. Exactly the same words, and therefore I am watching it with my daughters 🙂 I have a very open and positive attitude towards all people, also strangers. I think the best of everyone, and passed this outlook and attitude to my daughters.It is also a very good way to learn English, also the voices have a calming effect, Robert Stack definitely has what I call ‘radiovoice’. I too hope the new show will vary so we get many different kinds of mysteries, it doesn’t have to be crime and violence all of it. Also I like that each episode has a few stories, I think in the new show each episode will have one story, one mystery, I think I read that somewhere. I can’t wait to see it. <3 Birgitta.


    • Shirley

      Even with the best producers or digital cameras one thing that can never be reproduced was the chilling sound of Robert Stack retelling the stories. He was the best!


  7. Debra Blair

    I believe any sick minded person will get what they reap,one way or another. By Justice or by God!!! Thanks for doing a good job and not giving up.


  8. Sieran Vale

    This is awesome confirmation that justice can be served as technology is furthered. To me, it’s also confirmation that people who pursue unsolved mysteries (like those of us who frequent this and similar sites) are RIGHT (not crazy) to study old cases. It would be good to know how many crime-solving tips come in from “crime watchers” who just won’t let go until justice is served.


  9. Spiderman 2070

    I can’t wait to see some old cases as well as new ones.


  10. Bridget L Sage

    Glad to see this series Is still alive here and will be on Netflix I find this show to still be the best crime solver and mystery and long lost love finding method still to this day. I miss broadcast tv and the impact it had on people and the mass audience that It reached.


  11. Christine Harvey

    I am so happy to hear that he will spend the rest of his life in jail.


  12. Patrick Kavanagh

    Thanks for still updating these cases UM.


  13. Bearcat

    I wonder if they suspect him of any other crimes? I find it hard to believe that he would be able to pull off this type of crime without at least doing something similar. I think he was a trucker so maybe they will be able to trace his routes and tie him to some other unsolved crimes in the area.


  14. Fritz Last

    it’s not only good to hear about such a horrendous crime being solved by high-tech scientific coolness, but also such an old case!! I hope this gives the families some sort of relief after all these years…

    as regards to the perp, hanging would be too good for such a miserable excuse for a human being


  15. Kevin Palmer

    On Wednesday, July 25th, William Earl Talbott II was sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms, both without the possibility of parole, for the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg.


  16. Chet White

    This is amazing!! I watch unsolved mysteries every night, and re watch it many times lol I love the mystery of it all, and I am familiar with this case, thank God for science!! Now they can rest in peace, and I don’t use the word close, but the family’s can now have answers


  17. Tabby

    Wow phenomenal!!!


  18. Katrina

    On Friday, June 28, 2019, William Earl Talbott II was found guilty of the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg.


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