HONOLULU (KHON2) — Will Dana Ireland’s killer ever be caught? Now that the man originally convicted in her murder has been set free, the prosecutor’s office said it is reassessing the evidence.
And Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said the case has never been closed. A group known as Judges for Justice said there are significant leads for investigators.
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Tuesday’s hearing that vacated Albert Ian Schweitzer’s conviction revealed that DNA samples were found on several items including Dana Ireland’s body. And those samples belong to someone referred to as Unknown Male #1.
Mayor Roth said the investigation never really closed because the search has been ongoing for years for that unknown male suspect.
“Even though there was a conviction, we never really stopped looking for that person. I guess it’s still a little bit frustrating that we do not have that person in custody at this point,” he said.
The Big Island police chief sent a statement saying the department has recently contracted a DNA lab to examine evidence in the case.
He said, “Moving forward, we will continue to use new technologies to help not only identify Unknown Male #1, but to determine what his role may have been in this heinous crime.”
The group Judges for Justice has been following the case and had been saying for years that Schweitzer, his brother Shawn, and Frank Pauline were wrongly convicted. The head of the group also has a theory on who the killer might be.
“FBI profile says this person lived or worked near the crime. He has probably been watching her. He fantasized about her and he’s had her under observation,” said retired judge Michael Heavey, CEO of Judges for Justice.
Heavey said the killer probably lived near where Dana’s sister lived which is about a mile from where Dana’s mangled bike was found. Dana had lived with her sister Sandy for a couple of months. While most of that area now is covered with lava, Heavey says investigators can still find some leads.
“Go back to the property records in 1991, find out who was living in the neighborhood and go interview the ones that are still alive,” said Heavey.
He said witnesses had also reported an old Datsun pickup truck that was at the scene.
“One thing is go back to the DMV. Get the registration if you can in 1991 of all the 1974 to 1978 Datsun pick up trucks,” said Heavey.
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Heavey said with the killer’s DNA sample already established, there’s optimism that he will be found.