Kalapana man ID’d as body found Christmas Day

HILO — Police said Monday that the charred remains found within a torched vehicle this past Christmas Day were identified by DNA as those of 67-year-old Douglas Vernon Don of Kalapana, who was previously a missing person.

At approximately 10 a.m. Dec. 25, police and fire units responded to a side road off 39th Avenue near Pohaku Drive in the Orchidland Estates subdivision to a reported vehicle engulfed in flames. After dousing the flames, firefighters saw burnt human remains in the vehicle.

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Investigators weren’t able to immediately determine if the remains were those of

a male or female.

Don was reported missing and police issued a bulletin Dec. 29, four days after the remains were found, seeking public leads on Don’s whereabouts. It said Don, who frequented lower Puna, was last heard from Dec. 23, two days before his charred remains were found.

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Don’s death was classified as a murder and, according to a written statement, police have reason to suspect it is related to evidence located at another property, also on 39th Avenue, but closer to Aulii Street on the opposite end of Orchidland.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Kayne Kelii at 961-2378 or Kayne.kelii@hawaiicounty.gov, or to call the police nonemergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.