Man who found murder victim Sarah Yarborough in 1991 recalls suspect, scene

Nearly 28 years ago, two 12-year-old boys discovered the murdered body of 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough near Federal Way High School.

Now that a suspect has been arrested, one of those now-grown witnesses sat down only with KIRO 7’s Amy Chancy to share his experience.

The suspect, Patrick Leon Nicholas, is now in jail. But back in 1991, the then-12-year-old helped police create a sketch of a man who police say was Nicholas.

“Seeing evil face to face like that and knowing that it’s real and it’s there -- that’s a very scary thing to come to grips with,” said the man, who asked KIRO 7 not to identify him because his own children still don’t know about the trauma he experienced in December 1991.

He got a look at the suspect.

“He was probably 30, maybe 25 yards away from us,” the man said. “Me and my friend, we stopped. He’s staring at us, then we’re looking and -- what the hell is going on with this guy?”

They couldn’t see Sarah’s body. As they got closer, they did -- and they ran back to his house to call police.

“It broke me as a young man, having come to grips with that,” the man said. “It’s a very, very horrible thing.”

After creating the sketch, the man lived in fear until earlier this month when Nicholas, 55, was arrested and charged with Yarborough’s murder.

Police matched DNA from the crime scene to a cigarette they watched Nicholas discard, according to investigators.

“That’s an amazing amount of peace given to me,” the man said. He went to Nicholas’ bail hearing “because I had to see that man in handcuffs, in custody with my own two eyes.”

Was that the man he saw in 1991?

“Absolutely,” he said. “No doubt about it.”

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