YAKIMA, Wash. – With an assist from a true crime TV series, a 60-year-old man has been arrested in the 1997 shooting death of his wife, the Yakima County sheriff's office says.
Barrett Bailey was arrested Wednesday in Idaho on a warrant, waived extradition and was to be brought back to Yakima to face a charge of first-degree murder, sheriff's Detective Sgt. Mike Russell said in a statement.
Deborah Bailey was 32 years old when she was found in a car near Naches, Washington, on Feb. 16, 1997, fatally shot in the head. She was a former Miss Teen Washington, the Yakima Herald-Republic (http://is.gd/GUhhzH) reported.
While the sheriff's office kept the investigation active for years, and identified persons of interest, investigators lacked sufficient information to make an arrest, Russell said.
Last summer, the TNT series "Cold Justice," which looks at unsolved murders, contacted sheriff's detectives to ask if they had a cold case that could benefit from a fresh look, as well as from the assistance of investigators associated with the show. Russell said detectives suggested the Deborah Bailey case.
With "Cold Justice" producers, investigators and production crews in Yakima in September, sheriff's Detectives Judd Towell and Dave Johnson took another look at the case, including re-interviewing key people.
The arrest warrant for Barrett Bailey was obtained this week "with the support of newly elected Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic," Russell said. Towell and Johnson made the arrest.
Bailey is believed to have lived in the north Idaho community of Priest River. Russell did not immediately return an Associated Press call Wednesday night to confirm the man's hometown. When Deborah Bailey died, Bailey lived in Selah, Washington.
The man has said he was at his Selah home with his two children when his wife was killed. In previous news stories, he said he thought his wife was killed as a result of her "clandestine drug life," and he described the investigation into her death as a "witch hunt," the Herald-Republic reported.
The "Cold Justice" episode titled "Miss Congeniality" is scheduled to air Friday night.