55-year-old man charged in 1991 killing of Federal Way teen

SEATTLE (AP) — A 55-year-old man has been charged with killing a 16-year-old Federal Way girl almost 28 years ago _ another cold-case arrest made with the help of genetic genealogy.

King County Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht on Thursday announced the arrest of Patrick Leon Nicholas of Covington. Detectives arrested him Wednesday after they said his DNA matched that taken from the scene of Sarah Yarborough’s murder outside Federal Way High School in 1991.

The case stymied investigators as they tried to identify the suspect who left the DNA profile. Last year, the sheriff’s office hired genetic genealogists to enter the DNA profile into publicly available genealogy databases. They built an extended family tree for the suspect and determined he must be one of two brothers.

The detectives said they surveilled one of the brothers, Nicholas, and watched him discard cigarette butts outside a laundromat in Kent. They said the DNA on the butts matched that found on Yarborough’s clothing.

Nicholas is being held on $5 million bail. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. He faces arraignment Oct. 17.