FEDERAL WAY - The first new clue in the unsolved 1991 murder of Sarah Yarborough was revealed by a witness Saturday who was questioned by King County police while she was under hypnosis.
The witness, a Federal Way woman whose name was not disclosed, recalled seeing an old station wagon parked near a gate in Federal Way High School's north parking lot, at the same time she saw Yarborough arrive in the lot the Saturday morning she was killed.
The new information adds more details to witness statements given by her son and two others shortly after the slaying. They reported having seen a similar car parked near Yarborough's a few minutes after the woman dropped her son off at the school. By that time, the car had been moved about 40 feet, from the gate where the woman now reports having seen it to a position next to Yarborough's car.
By the time police arrived after Yarborough's body was found, the car was gone.
In addition to the new information about the location of the car, the woman gave a more detailed car description.
Doyon said the woman described it as a 30-year-old, midsized station wagon with a faded white paint job and a predominance of rust or primer spots. Neither the woman nor the students saw anyone in the car, and no one saw a license-plate number.
King County Detective Jim Doyon considers the woman's testimony to be the first new clue in the vexing murder case. "The car belonged either to a witness who left the scene, or to a possible suspect," he said.
Yarborough was a 16-year-old Federal Way High School student at the time of her death. She was sexually assaulted and strangled after arriving at the school for drill-team competition on Dec. 14, 1991.
Several witnesses saw a man near her body, in a brushy field. He was described as white, in his 20s, with shoulder-length blond hair.
Doyon said he hopes the new clue may result in someone coming forward with more information. Doyon has been working on the case since the killing.
Doyon said that last fall he was reviewing a 1991 witness statement taken from the woman's son and discovered the woman had never been interviewed by police. He interviewed her in October, and she recalled seeing a light-colored station wagon when she dropped her son off.
A check of 514 cars with school parking permits did not turn up the station wagon, so Doyon decided to have the woman hypnotized to see if she could recall any other details.