Man may hold key to 2 missing people
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
Honolulu police are looking into whether a man arrested for stealing a missing Kaua'i man's identity has information about a Honolulu man who disappeared more than a decade ago under similar circumstances.
Henry Ponce Jacinto Calucag Jr., also known as Hank Jacinto, is being held without bail at the O'ahu Community Correctional Center on charges of first-degree identity theft, first-degree theft, and second-degree forgery in connection with the alleged theft of $200,000, a parcel of land, credit cards and a half-dozen polo horses from Kaua'i resident John Elwin. Elwin transferred $200,000 into Calucag's escrow account before leaving for the Philippines, according to documents filed in O'ahu circuit court.
Elwin has been missing since May, when he flew to the Philippines with Calucag to examine the $200,000 apartment he bought from Calucag. His family filed a missing persons report with Kaua'i police on May 15 after Elwin failed to call his 15-year-old daughter in Texas on her birthday.
City Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said police are working with law enforcement officers in the Philippines to find Elwin. The Philippine government has requested a copy of Elwin's dental records, according to court documents.
"His disappearance appears to be highly suspicious and we are extremely concerned about his well-being," Van Marter said.
Calucag's lawyer, Jeffrey Hawk, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
On Thursday, Calucag's attorneys described Elwin and Calucag as polo partners and the "best of friends."
Robert F. Miller, one of Calucag's lawyers, testified Thursday that Calucag has legitimate business interests here and in the Philippines, and said Elwin was known to have female friends in the Philippines.
Miller said Elwin notified him and others in March or April that he was going to leave the country to pursue business interests and personal pleasure in Southeast Asia.
On Monday, Honolulu police detectives, backed by the department's Specialized Services Division, raided the Peter Street home of Debbie Anagaran, Calucag's girlfriend. The warrant to search the home arose out of the investigation into Elwin's disappearance after police learned that Anagaran's apartment once belonged to Arthur Young, a Honolulu man who disappeared on a business trip to the Philippines more than 10 years ago, according to police and the city prosecutor's office.
Anagaran has not been arrested.
Young allegedly entered into a business deal with either Calucag or Anagaran, and after he disappeared in the Philippines, Young allegedly signed over his apartment to Anagaran, according to the prosecutor's office and Gordon Piianaia, Young's friend and Peter Street neighbor.
"His (Young's) disappearance was a shock; it was something that nobody expected," Piianaia said.
On Thursday, Van Marter asked that Calucag be held without bail, maintaining that he lacks credibility and might flee.
Van Marter cited Calucag's previous 1995 federal bank fraud conviction stemming from an elaborate check kiting scheme involving several O'ahu banks. While on supervised release, Calucag admitted to using a fake Virginia driver's license and forged loan documents to buy a $23,000 Land Rover from Theo Davies Euromotors, Van Marter said.
Calucag also admitted to forging lease documents to obtain $16,000 worth of equipment from Dell Computers. He made no payments on either account and was sentenced to 16 months in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release.
Calucag told Elwin's friends and family that Elwin got a Filipino girl pregnant and was staying in the country to look after her, according to court records, a charge Elwin's friends vehemently deny. Elwin's friends describe a man who lived with the same woman for the past four years and who frequently kept in touch with those closest to him.
"What does doing the right thing have to do with him (Elwin) not contacting his daughter? They spoke regularly. The friendship that me and John had is one that if John had gotten somebody pregnant, I would be the first guy he would come to," said Luis Soltren, Elwin's friend of the past 30 years. "Hank or Calucag, whatever his name is, said he wasn't there (in the Philippines) with John but John e-mailed me telling me he was there with Hank."
On May 14, Elwin made a phone call to a friend in Davo City saying he was preparing to travel to a province outside Manila, Soltren said. At 1:35 that afternoon, Elwin sent a text message to the friend saying he had just passed San Jose and that, "I'm going to the province with Hank and that Hank told him not to bring any ID with him," Soltren said.
"That's the last time we heard from John," Soltren said. "We're very, very concerned. You've got a friend of 30 years and he's missing."
Soltren said in addition to Philippine law enforcement, two American expatriates living in Manila are helping to look for Elwin.
After Elwin went missing, Calucag stole his identity and attempted to transfer a parcel of land on Kaua'i to himself using a forged deed, according to court records. Elwin had planned to build a home on the land for his daughter. Calucag also used Elwin's credit cards to buy polo mallets and was in the process of transferring ownership of Elwin's six polo horses to himself when police arrested him Aug. 27 at the Waimanalo polo fields.
PLANNED TO BUILD HOUSE
Kirsten Flood, a 37-year-old cosmetologist who lives with Elwin and has dated him for the past five years, said the couple was planning to build a house together and that Elwin spoke twice a week to his daughter. Flood said Elwin traveled throughout the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand pursuing business ventures while attempting to establish a Southeast Asian polo club. Elwin traveled throughout the region every three months, she said.
The last time Flood saw Elwin was May 3.
"He would call and send e-mails once every three days and he would be gone for two to three weeks at a time," she said.
Flood dismissed Calucag's lawyers' suggestions that Elwin was a womanizer who was ditching his family and friends for a good time. She said Calucag was a trusted friend, before the criminal charges, who would fly to Kaua'i during polo season and stay with Elwin.
"I know the relationship between John and his daughter and he would never, ever, ever do that to her and he would not just leave his life here to pursue another one elsewhere. I know it in my heart," she said. "He would never do that to his daughter or to his family. I would like to think that John's coming back and he'll pop up and this whole thing will be over. But then the whole thing with Hank comes to my mind and I know John is not coming home."
Reach Peter Boylan at email@example.com.