Kauai's Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and the Kauai Police Department are working in partnership in Hawaii's first prosecutor-directed cold case murder unit.
It is called Ke Ahi Pio'ole which means "the fire that never burns out."
Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said new advances in DNA technology and forensic techniques have created an opportunity for prosecutors and investigators to evaluate cold cases in a different way.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney applied for and aggressively lobbied to obtain funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to focus on hiring specialized consultants and securing highly-accredited forensic laboratories to further examine tangible evidence with utmost scrutiny.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney was one of 22 state and county agencies awarded funding. Almost $100,000 was given to create Ke Ahi Pio'ole.
The unit is comprised of two experienced prosecutors from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and two senior investigators from the Kauai Police Department Investigative Services Bureau that are committed to work extensively together with other expert homicide consultants and forensic chemists to reinterview witnesses and retrieve and test evidence with technology that was not available in the past.
"Our drive and dedication to solve and prosecute these murders has never gone cold" explained Prosecutor 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 Kauai 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 Kauai 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.