Potential new evidence in Young murder case

November 30, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
The beating death of Michelle Young remains one of Wake County's most tragic mysteries. But, there may be some progress in the case.

According to search warrants obtained by ABC11 Eyewitness News, the SBI has returned to the scene of the crime, 5108 Birchleaf Drive, an upscale home in the Enchanted Oaks subdivision. Last November, Michelle Young was found beaten to death. Neither Young nor her unborn son would survive the vicious attack.

Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, investigators entered the house and took several measurements and photographs inside the home. Court documents released Thursday said the State Bureau of Investigation wanted to conduct an "additional review" and an "analysis" of evidence previously collected in the case.

During their initial search of the home, officers photographed bloody footprints, but after further review they were unable to determine their exact size.

"Apparently they went back this time with scale rulers," longtime criminal defense attorney Karl Knudsen told Eyewitness News after reviewing the search warrants and investigator notes.

Knudsen is not affiliated with the case, but the veteran attorney has extensive experience with homicide evidence.

Knudsen said the warrant reveals that investigators left the home Michelle Young once shared with her husband Jason and their daughter with potential new evidence. Officers confiscated several wood planks from the couple's back deck, raising the question whether the deck was the killer's escape route.

"There may have been blood or other evidence that may have been tracked onto those planks which may not have been visible to the naked eye but there may be tests that can be done back in the laboratory," said Knudsen.

The warrant also lists a five gallon container of wood sealant. Knudsen said it could be key evidence depending on what investigators find after examining it.

"It may be that deck sealant that's on some planks may not match the sealant on other planks and suggests it may have been done at a particular time," Knudsen said. He also suggested the lot number on the container could be significant, helping investigators to determine exactly when the wood sealant was purchased.

"If it happened to be at or about the time they think it the crime was committed," Knudsen added. "that might be a significant piece of evidence."

ABC11 contacted the Wake County Sheriff's Department but investigators declined to comment on what this new development might mean for the murder case. Earlier this year, a neighbor mowing the Young's lawn discovered a mallet. A search warrant was obtained for the mallet, but it was later determined to be unrelated to Young's death.

Young's relatives have also declined to discuss the case, but continue their public pleas for information leading to an arrest. The case has garnered national attention from cable shows to People magazine.

Young's husband has submitted fingerprints and DNA as part of a non-testimonial order, but the Sheriff's Department has never named him as a suspect. However, the sheriff has spoken openly about Jason Young's lack of cooperation with his wife's murder case.

Young and his daughter are believed to be living in western North Carolina with relatives. His attorney has declined to comment.

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