The nearly three-decade-long mystery surrounding the murder of Sarah Yarborough, a 16-year-old honor student at Federal Way High School, has finally been solved. Sarah’s life was tragically cut short in 1991 when she was found murdered on her school’s campus during her junior year. The impact of this case has been profound, touching the lives of her family, friends, and multiple generations of investigators.
On a fateful morning in December 1991, 13-year-old Drew Miller and his friend stumbled upon a horrifying scene at the high school while on their way to skateboard. They discovered the lifeless body of Sarah Yarborough, partially dressed, with her belongings scattered nearby.
The scene was described by Investigator Scott Strathy as “pure unadulterated evil,” indicating a sexually motivated murder. Drew Miller vividly recalls the chilling discovery, but what would haunt him even more was the encounter with a mysterious man who had been lurking nearby.
The sudden appearance of the man, the horrible sight of the victim, and the realization that they were standing near the suspected killer would stay with Drew forever.
Sarah’s parents, Tom and Laura Yarborough, were faced with the heartbreaking task of informing their youngest son about his sister’s murder. Sarah, a talented and ambitious young lady with a promising future ahead, had her dreams of college and travel tragically stolen from her, leaving her loved ones in unimaginable grief.
Sarah’s closest friends, including Liberty Barnes, Kristi Gutierrez, Amy Parodi, and Mary Beth Thome, remember her as a fiery redhead with an artistic, aggressive, and imaginative personality.
Former Custodian Identified as Sarah Yarborough’s Killer
The loss of Sarah shattered their sense of safety and security, exposing them to the harsh reality of the world. With DNA evidence found at the crime scene, investigators had hoped that advancing technology would eventually aid in identifying Sarah’s killer.
Despite the passage of time, the case continued to haunt those involved, with the lingering question of who the mysterious man was and what truly happened to Sarah Yarborough.
Today, in a press conference held by the Federal Way Police Department, authorities revealed that advances in DNA technology and tireless efforts from investigators have led to a breakthrough in the case. The mysterious man who haunted Drew Miller’s memories has been identified as Richard Turner, a former custodian at the high school.
Richard Turner, who passed away in 2015, had never been considered a suspect during the initial investigation. Reexamination of DNA evidence gathered at the crime site revealed that it matched Turner. This development has provided some closure to Sarah’s family and friends and to the investigators who dedicated their careers to solving this chilling murder mystery.
While the mystery of Sarah Yarborough’s murder has finally been solved, the scars it left on her loved ones and the community are deep. It serves as a somber reminder of the enduring pain caused by such senseless acts of violence and the resilience of those who never gave up on finding justice for Sarah.
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