SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Alan Edward Dean, 62, was arrested Tuesday, July 28 for the April 1993 murder of 15-year-old Melissa Lee. Dean was taken into custody without incident at 5 p.m. near his Bothell residence.
Dean was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on one count of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree kidnapping, said Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Director of Communications Courtney O'Keefe.
"Detectives continue to gather and process evidence and interview witnesses related to the investigation of Lee's murder," she said.
Dean's bail was set at $2 million. Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Adam Cornell said he is facing between 20 to 26 years behind bars.
"I'm just happy to have lived long enough to see this happen," Melissa's mother Sharon Lee said through tears at an SCSO press conference Wednesday, July 29. "I hope he rots in hell."
According to O'Keefe, on April 13, 1993, Lee was home alone at her residence on Filbert Road in Bothell. Around 9:30 p.m., Lee had spoken with her mother by phone about having a friend spend the night. When Lee's mother arrived home around midnight, she discovered the front door open and signs of a struggle inside and her daughter not at home. Her mother reported her missing to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office on April 14.
That evening Lee's body was found in a ravine 100 feet below the north side of the Edgewater Creek Bridge in the 3800 block of Mukilteo Boulevard in Everett. The Snohomish County Chief Medical Examiner, conducted an autopsy the next day.
"The autopsy determined Lee's death was attributed to asphyxia due to manual strangulation and classified as a homicide," O'Keefe said. "A toxicology report did not detect any drugs or alcohol in Lee's system; however, Ethyl Ether and Heptane chemicals were."
O'Keefe said detectives confirmed Dean, who was 35 at the time, was living on Madison Street in Everett approximately 4 miles from where they found Lee's body.
Detectives interviewed Dean three times after finding notes in Lee's address book with a phone number for someone named "Michael." Dean and told detectives he used the name "Mike" when he met Lee through a night talk line and dated her twice in March of 1993.
Dean was identified as a suspect through the use of DNA technology.
"Successful identification of Dean was established with assistance from Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia that performed genetic genealogy analysis for the case," O'Keefe said. "A digital file containing DNA genotype data derived from evidence at the crime scene was uploaded to a public genetic genealogy website, and promising matches were found for a multiple of the suspect's relatives."
Genealogists determined Dean's identity from his DNA left on a cigarette butt, and the Washington State Patrol's crime lab confirmed a positive match with the DNA profile from the crime scene evidence.
Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney said they never gave up hope that they would find Lee's killer.
"I know it's been many years later than we would've hoped, but I am glad this is a good day and that we are one step closer to bringing justice for your daughter and family," Fortney told Sharon Lee. "These cases are complicated and they can take years, literally years to come together."
Police are asking anyone with information related to this case or suspect, call the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office tip line at 425-388-3845.