Investigators looking into 1982 Haines murder

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2009

JUNEAU - Investigators are looking for clues in the 1982 murder of a Haines girl.

The Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Cold Case Unit has reopened the case of Eileen Wafer, who was 14 when she disappeared from her home in 1982, according to Elizabeth Ipsen of the Department of Public Safety.

The girl was baby-sitting her young brothers. When her mother came home, the two boys were in bed but the girl was gone. Her body was found four days later by her older brother and her boyfriend along the beach front at Portage Cove several hundred feet from her home.

Investigators believe the girl may have been coaxed from her home by someone who knew her.

Eileen's murder is another one of the cases getting another look by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation's Cold Case Unit. Investigator Tim Hunyor said the effort could shed new light on a case that is almost three decades old.

"Sometimes a new fresh set of eyes looks at the case and something pops out," Hunyor said. "Sometimes people will recall some information that they thought they had told someone before or something they may have heard over the years."

Investigative methods also have changed since the girl's death. For example, investigators now ask broader questions instead of focusing on one theory.

There is also the addition of DNA testing. The Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, is the national repository for the DNA profiles from casework and offender samples from all 50 states.

So far, CODIS has not found a match for DNA from Eileen's case.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to comb through evidence from the crime scene and track down people who knew Eileen, or may have seen something that seemed odd or heard something.

"People may not have thought something was strange at the time, but over the years, maybe something sticks out as not being quite right," Hunyor said. "It may be a person they've often wondered about, someone they just had a weird feeling about, or just something that developed when talking to a friend about Eileen's murder."

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