Nancy Baugh had been missing since she was 20 years old, last seen by neighbors being dragged out of her Hanalei home.
That was in 1979. Now, Kauai police have new evidence in one of the island’s oldest cold cases.
Baugh’s boyfriend, Paul Featherman, was found dead with a single gunshot to his face inside the Hanalei home.
Neighbors had heard screaming and a gunshot, but no one called police.
No arrests have been made in the case for the past 34 years.
Baugh’s family has been relentlessly searching for answers ever since her sudden disappearance.
“There will never be complete closure until I know why, where, and how,” said Steve Baugh, Nancy’s brother.
A part of the skeleton was found near Hanalei Bay last March. After doing DNA testing, police confirmed the remains are Baugh.
This discovery has opened up one of the oldest cold cases in Kauai’s history.
“Right in that area outside of that log is where the iwi was exposed in the March 2012 flooding,” Hanalei resident Stacy Sproat-Beck said.
The heavy rains pulled back the California grass like a carpet. Underneath the water’s surface was part of a skeleton of Baugh.
But some Hanalei residents claim to have known for years that Baugh was kidnapped and dumped near the Waioli Stream.
“We were always on the lookout for that. My first thought was, ‘That’s it.’ Because if you cared about your kupuna, would you bury them there? I don’t think so,” Sproat-Beck said.
Some even say they know who did it. Baugh’s family received anonymous letters and phone calls almost a decade after her death, telling them the names of the people responsible for killing Baugh and her boyfriend, saying it was a massive cover up.
“Back in the 70s it was the wild west. A rural community,” Sproat-Beck said. “It was part of local history that someone said so and so disappeared somebody.”
There have been more cases just like Baugh’s.
“When the knowledge was shared with us, it wasn’t haunting because a lot of people disappeared at that time,” Sproat-Beck said.
A lot has changed in Hanalei since 1979. Weke Road is a street full of vacation rentals and visitors.
The police department and prosecutor’s office now said they will work to find who Baugh’s killers are.
“You may ask me if there’s a person of interest, I can’t confirm or deny that,” Kauai Police Department Chief Darryl Perry said.
The chief did say it was suspicious that on the night Featherman was shot and Baugh was kidnapped, no one called 911.
“Where so much time has passed, the situations have become part of local folklore,” Kauai County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said.
But for the Baugh family, this is anything but folklore. They’ve been putting adds in the paper every year on the anniversary of Baugh’s death, hoping someone can help them find justice.
“It’s been so painful. Her remains were found,” Baugh said.
According to prosecutors, when Baugh’s body was recovered, they found one lily growing where she laid.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police at (808) 241-1681.
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