Hawaii Police Department
Criminal Investigations Section
Lieutenant Randall Medeiros
September 14, 2007
Report No. C06015519
Media Release (Update No. 3)
Big Island police have cancelled their search for a 74-year-old Puna woman missing since last year after partial remains were identified as being hers.
Elizabeth Christensen of the Fern Forest subdivision was last seen on foot on May 15, 2006, near the Fern Forest Community Association building. She was said to be possibly suffering from a mental disorder. Although she was not with her dog when last seen, she usually was accompanied by her dog. The dog is unaccounted for and was presumed to be in her company.
The woman’s family reported her missing the evening of May 18, 2006. Early the following morning, a ground and aerial search was conducted by Fire/Rescue personnel as well as investigators from the Police Department, including the recently acquired scent-discriminating tracking dog. The all-day search did not yield any positive results.
On July 26, 2006, a resident of the Fern Forest subdivision reported that his dog had retrieved a human cranium. This resident lived near Christensen’s home. Another search of the area was conducted with the assistance of a scent-discriminating tracking dog trained in cadaver searches. No additional remains were recovered. The cranium was sent to the University of Northern Texas for DNA analysis. Forensic analysts were recently able to positively identify the partial remains as that of Elizabeth Christensen.
The condition of the cranium did not give any indication of a cause of death. Police initiated a standard coroner’s inquest into her death. Foul play is not suspected at this point but cannot be ruled out.
Police ask anyone with information about the woman’s death to call Detective Richard Sherlock at 961-2379. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.