Prosecuter’s office starts Cold Case Murder Unit

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i is about to start Ke Ahi Pio’ole, translated as “the fire that never burns out,” Hawai‘i’s first prosecutor-directed cold case murder unit.

A committee of state and county government agencies donated $100,000 for Kaua‘i’s Office of the Prosecuting Attorney to start the unit.

New advances in DNA technology and forensic techniques have created an opportunity for prosecutors and investigators to evaluate these cases in a different way, according to a county news release.

The Kaua‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and the Police Department have long since recognized the merits of prospective programs that allow resources and personnel to be more dedicated to unsolved cases.

Funded by the grant, Ke Ahi Pio‘ole is comprised of two experienced prosecutors and two senior KPD investigators. The program will allow them to work with  expert homicide consultants, forensic chemists, and to re-interview witnesses, and retrieve and test evidence that may not have been available in the past.

“Our drive and dedication to solve and prosecute these murders has never gone cold” explained County Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho. “The establishment of Ke Ahi Pio‘ole and securing the competitive grant funding formalizes what we’ve been doing all along – working tirelessly with KPD to keep the flame going, never forgetting the victims of these horrific crimes.”

“The Kaua‘i Police Department is excited to work in partnership with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney toward solving these crimes so that the victims and their families can receive justice,” said Police Chief Darryl Perry.

“Through the heightened efforts and increased focus, we will ensure that each of the unsolved murders receives the careful attention they deserve, and that those responsible for these heinous crimes are held accountable.” said Iseri-Carvalho.

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