DNA leads to suspect in teen's 1978 killing

DNA leads to suspect in teen's 1978 killing »Play Video
Sara Beth Lundquist
SEATTLE -- King County prosecutors on Wednesday filed rape, kidnapping and first-degree murder charges against a man they say killed a 15-year-old Seattle girl in 1978.

Sara Beth Lundquist was found stabbed to death inside a bathroom at a tire shop in North Seattle after her mother reported her missing.

Detectives chased many leads, but never had any suspects at the time.

In 2005, Seattle Police Detective Michael Ciesynski, reviewed the case and submitted DNA samples taken from the crime scene to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

According to a statement of probable cause filed with the charges, the DNA was a match for 62-year-old Clarence E. Williams.


Clarence E. Williams

Williams is already serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of Laura Ann Baylis, who was killed two months after Lundquist. Williams was found guilty of stabbing 21-year-old Baylis 19 times, then leaving her body inside the closet of a boarded-up house in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Two months prior to Baylis' death, a teenager found Lundquist's body in a men's room of a seldom-used building.

"I went to push open the door, and there she was. It was... it scared me," the teen said.

There was microscopic evidence that she might have been sexually assaulted, but it would be eight more years before DNA evidence was used in a courtroom. It would be 29 years before DNA pointed to Clarence Williams as Lundquist's killer.

When detectives interviewed Williams in jail, court documents say he responded, "You're asking me to remember something that happened 30 years ago."

Confronted with the report matching his DNA to evidence from the murder scene, Williams allegedly shrugged and said, "What can I say?"

In an interview with our newspaper partner, the Seattle P-I, Ciesynski said he wants to make sure Williams doesn't kill anyone else, because he could have a chance for parole.

"Here are two girls who were killed in a similar way, two months apart. They were similar in appearance. Both were abducted," he said. "It's my personal belief that a serial murderer will not just stop because he's 60 years old. Once he's released, he'll do it again."

Williams is scheduled to be arraigned November 7.

Detectives said Williams, who killed twice in two months back in 1978, lived in Seattle for four years. They're now reviewing other unsolved cases to see if he is be connected.

Four deputy prosecutors were assigned to the cold case squad last year. Since then, murder charges have been filed in eight previous unsolved killings.