EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A man charged in the abduction and killing of Bothell teenager Melissa Lee in the 90s has been indefinitely committed to the state psychiatric hospital by a Snohomish County judge.
First-degree murder charges against Alan Edward Dean were dismissed this week under the civil order but can be filed again if a judge finds him competent to stand trial, The Daily Herald reported.
In the meantime, the former Boeing mechanic will be held at Western State Hospital.
Dean was arrested in July 2020 with the help of forensic research by a genetic genealogist who used crime scene DNA to build family trees until she identified its source — and the suspect. The same technique led to a breakthrough in the Golden State Killer case in California and other long-unsolved cases.
In April 1993, the victim’s mother returned home to find the house a mess, with a strange chemical smell permeating throughout the living room. Milk, cigarette ashes and peanuts were spilled on the floor. Lee, 15, was nowhere to be found.
Hours later, two passersby found what was later identified as Lee’s body 50 feet (15 meters) below a bridge in Everett, Washington.
Dean lived in Bothell, Washington, at the time, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) away. He was identified then as a possible suspect, but there was not enough evidence for an arrest until DNA he discarded on a cigarette matched DNA found at the crime scene, prosecutors said.