FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh thanked Honolulu Deputy Police Chief Paul Putzulu yesterday during the taping of a segment for the show.
Effort to convict killer is not over
A TV crime show host has personal ties to the murder case of a Kauai man
"America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh says the show probably turns down 100 requests per week from people hoping to have their cases aired on television.
And the case of Kauai businessman John Elwin, who was murdered in the Philippines in May 2006, would have been one of them, Walsh said, if Elwin was not his friend.
This one is personal.
Walsh first learned of the case when Elwin's friend Luis Soltren called him to tell him that Elwin was missing after having gone to the Philippines. And Henry Calucag, the man he had gone there to meet, was back on Oahu playing polo.
"And this (SOB) is on John's horses, wearing his helmet, playing with his mallet and saying, 'I don't know where John is,'" Walsh said.
"America's Most Wanted" featured Elwin's case last November. Since then a state jury has found Calucag, also known as Hank Jacinto, guilty of forging a document assuming title of a parcel of land Elwin owned on Kauai, stealing $245,000 Elwin gave him for the purchase of a condominium in the Philippines and using Elwin's credit card to buy more than $2,000 worth of polo equipment after Elwin was dead.
Calucag is serving a 30-year sentence in state prison for theft, identity theft and forgery.
Walsh visited Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle, Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter, acting Honolulu Police Chief Paul Putzulu and Detective David Wadahara yesterday to thank them for their work in successfully prosecuting Calucag on the forgery and theft charges. He is also in Hawaii to record new footage for another segment on the Elwin case.
"That's only round one. We need to get justice for John Elwin's family and friends. Hank Jacinto needs to be indicted for his murder," Walsh said.
Walsh is scheduled to meet with U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo and FBI officials today.
Elwin's body was found on the side of the road outside Manila on May 14, 2006. It had gunshot wounds to the back and back of the head. No one has been charged with his murder.
However, Calucag is the focus of a federal, state and county task force investigating Elwin's murder and the disappearances of two other men with similar ties to Calucag.
Arthur Young disappeared after traveling to the Philippines in 1990 to meet with Calucag. Douglas Ho disappeared in 2004, also in the Philippines after going there to meet with Calucag to set up a computer business.
Walsh met Elwin just a few months before he disappeared when Elwin went to Florida to play polo. He stayed at Walsh's ranch north of Palm Beach.
"John came and rode my horses, played with my sons. I have two sons and I got to know John," Walsh said. "He made such an impression, he's so nice."
He said he went with Elwin to purchase the very helmet that Calucag was wearing and was there when Elwin ordered the custom mallets that Calucag later possessed.
In the 20 years the show has been on television, "America's Most Wanted" has helped law enforcement in 30 countries capture 968 fugitives. Walsh said he has been involved in several high-profile cases involving serial killers, but none as coldblooded and calculating as Calucag.
"When I profile these guys, usually they pick random people to murder. They'll pick prostitutes, runaways, homeless people. They might take a trophy, a license, a piece of body part or something. I've never run up against a guy who grooms his victims, takes them and kills them and comes back and owns their property. It's mind-boggling."