Hawaii’s Unsolved Murders: Who killed former Chaminade University basketball player Mark Wells?

Hawaii's Unsolved Murders

WEST MAUI, Hawaii (KHON) – Maui Police are renewing requests for information in the death of Mark Wells, who played a role in what’s considered the greatest upset in college basketball history.

The Chaminade University Silverswords defeated the University of Virginia Cavaliers on December 23, 1982.

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At the time, the Cavaliers were the NCAA’s top-ranked team which included 3-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson.

The victory is widely regarded as college basketball’s “biggest upset” of all time.

Wells was unable to channel the fame from the surprise win in his later years. Maui Police say he suffered from substance abuse, and was a suspect in an alleged sex assault days before his death.

The 44-year-old’s body was found riddled with gunshot wounds in a remote area of West Maui.

On January 1st, 2005, a hiker came across Wells’ lifeless body at Nakele Point, 100 yards makai of Kahekili Highway in Kahakuloa.

The former basketball player was last seen alive on December 31st, 2004 in the Kaanapali area.

Maui Police Detectives Michael Vai’tualala and Jeremy Pallone-De La Torre took over the investigation in 2021.

The area where Wells’ body was found, is “off the beaten path,” explained Pallone-De La Torre. “You have to really know how to get here. It appears as if he were lured to the area.”

“What struck me with this case is the brutal way he was killed. This is Maui. We’re a tight knit community. The violence that took place is shocking for us here,” said Vai’tualala.

MPD says there are reasons to believe more than 1 person was involved in Wells’ death.

Yet 16 years after the crime, no one has come forward.

“It’s very frustrating. We tell people, how would you feel if that’s your family? Your loved one? They would want police to do everything in their power,” said Pallone-De La Torre.

“In Mark Wells’ case, his life was cut short. Whereas the perpetrator or perpetrators are still out there. Mark Wells didn’t have that chance,” he added.

“There’s somebody here on Maui that knows what happened,” said Vai’tualala.

If you have information that can help Maui Police find out who killed Mark Wells, email mauicoldcases@mpd.net.

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