Photo Credit: King’s County Sheriff Department
Last week, a more than 30-year-long cold case murder finally obtained justice after 55-year-old Patrick Nicholas was found guilty for the murder of 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough in 1991.
Yarborough was found dead near her high school in Washington state, Federal Way High School, while she was waiting for her drill competition to start.
Per KOMO News, the DNA found on Yarborough’s clothes was unable to match DNA in the police department’s system. The only evidence they had for nearly 30 years was a sketch made based on a man that two 12-year-old boys – who had found the body – had seen in the area just after the homicide.
Local police stayed at it trying to solve the case, but due to the limitations of genetic technologies, they were unable to find a suspect. That is until 2019, when genetic genealogists gave detectives Nicholas’ name.
Somehow, Nicholas’ DNA evaded police records despite him having a prior arrests for r*pe and child molestation.
However, once detectives were able to connect his DNA to that of what was found at the scene, they furthered their confirmation by surveilling Nicholas and testing cigarette butts that he had discarded near a local strip mall in 2019.
The DNA was a perfect match.
He was then arrested and finally sat trial nearly four years later where he was found guilty of first-degree felony murder, per Seattle Times, where jurors also determined the crime to be sexually motivated.
The mystery of Yarborough’s murder had sat heavy with her family and people who knew her for over three decades before they were able to seek justice.
Mary Beth Thome, a friend of Sarah’s, spoke of the grief she feels that her friend never had the opportunity to grow up and show the world who she was.
“She loved art, she loved to dance, what would she have become in those years that were taken from her?” Mary said. “I think she would’ve been a beautiful person, and I think it’s really sad that the world didn’t get to see who she would’ve become.”
The mother of the victim, Lori Yarborough, also shared what she remembers most of her late daughter.
“She loved life, she loved people, she loved to travel,” Lori said. “She had big hopes and big dreams and was a great sister and a great daughter.”
Nicholas’ sentencing will begin on May 25.