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Man charged in 1993 murder of Bothell teenager Melissa Lee committed to psychiatric hospital

Alan Dean, 63, has been found incompetent to stand trial and indefinitely committed to Western State Hospital in Pierce County.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — Editor's note: Video originally aired on KING 5 in July 2020.

A man charged in connection to the 1993 kidnapping and murder of a 15-year-old Bothell girl has been indefinitely committed to a psychiatric hospital in Pierce County. 

A Snohomish County judge found Alan Dean, 63, incompetent to stand trial and ruled he be held at Western State Hospital, where he is currently residing. The first-degree murder charge against him has now been dismissed without prejudice, according to court documents.

Dean was arrested in July 2020 after detectives acquired his DNA from a discarded cigarette butt and it was positively matched to DNA samples from the 1993 crime scene.

Melissa Lee, 15, was home alone on the night of April 13, 1993. She spoke with her mom on the phone around 9:30 p.m., but was not at the residence when her mom came home after midnight. Her mom found signs of a struggle and the front door was open, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

RELATED: Bothell man arrested for 1993 cold case murder

Melissa was reported missing on April 14, 1993. Her body was discovered later that evening in a ravine on the north side of the Edgewater Creed Bridge in Everett. 

Credit: Courtesy of Snohomish County Sheriff's Office
Melissa Lee, 15, was found dead on April 14, 1993 in Everett, Wash.

No drugs or alcohol were found in Melissa’s system. However, a toxicology report discovered Ethyl Ether and Heptane chemicals, the sheriff’s office said.

During the investigation, detectives found notes in Melissa’s address book and a phone number for someone named “Michael.” The man was later identified as Dean, who said he met Melissa through a night talk line and used the name “Mike.” 

Dean was interviewed three times in 1993 and said he dated Melissa twice in March 1993. Detectives confirmed Dean was living on Madison Street in Everett at the time of the murder. His home was about 3.6 miles from where Melissa’s body was found.

Dean was identified as a suspect in Melissa’s murder through DNA technology. According to a press release, DNA evidence from the 1993 crime scene was uploaded into a public genetic genealogy website, which found “promising matches” for "multiple" of Dean’s relatives.

Genealogists with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia, deduced Dean’s identity from the matches. Once detectives obtained Dean's DNA from that discarded cigarette butt, the Washington State Patrol's crime lab was able to match his DNA to the 1993 evidence, resulting in his arrest last year.