The nearly 10-year-old mystery of Debbie Hawk’s disappearance and death appears closer to finally being solved with the discovery of skeletal remains in a farm field south of Lemoore.
Her family said Tuesday that the Kings County Sheriff’s Department had informed them of the discovery.
Debbie Hawk, a pharmaceutical representative and mother of three, went missing from her Hanford home in 2006. She was 46.
Despite the lack of a dead body, her former husband David Hawk was found guilty three years later of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
He also was found guilty of embezzling $300,000 from a trust account for their children. Hawk is currently imprisoned at the Corcoran State Prison.
June 13, 2006
Date that Debbie Hawk was reported missing
Debbie Hawk’s mother, Angie Triantis of Walnut Creek, said Tuesday that authorities had telephoned her daughter Diane Triantis, Debbie’s sister, on Monday with news that the remains had been found and that positive identification had been made.
Debbie’s death remains painful to her family.
“I think of her every night,” Angie Triantis said.
She said her husband, William “Bud” Triantis, is dying and is in hospice care and although they told him the news it’s doubtful he understood.
But before he fell gravely ill, “He said, ‘Before I die, I want to know where she is,’ ” she said.
The Kings County Sheriff’s Department has scheduled a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday about the discovery of remains east of Stratford in the area of 16th and Laurel avenues.
The mystery of Debbie Hawk’s disappearance has long transfixed the region.
She was reported missing June 13, 2006, after her three children returned from a custody visit with their father. The house was in disarray, and her van was gone.
I think of her every night.
Angie Triantis, Debbie Hawk’s mother
Her vehicle was found two days later in Fresno with the windows rolled down, the key in the ignition, and a stolen license plate on the rear bumper. Blood in the van and in the kitchen of her home was found to be hers.
David Hawk was named as a suspect four months later, and arrested more than a year later in May 2008.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that Hawk killed his ex-wife to keep her from exposing his misuse of the trust funds set up by his parents for the couple’s three children.
Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty. The murder conviction included a special finding – the crime was committed for financial gain – which required life in prison without parole.
The case transfixed the central San Joaquin Valley and split apart the Hawk family. At the sentencing hearing, David Hawk’s son Conrad said he hoped his father would go to hell for committing the crime. But at the same hearing, the couple’s oldest daughter Chelsa Hawk said her dad did not commit murder and was still a great father.
Debbie Hawk’s lawyer Kim Aguirre represented her in a family law issue involving child support when she went missing. Shortly afterward, he was shot and wounded, although who did it and why was never solved.
He said it’s a favorable development that her skeletal remains have reportedly been found.
Despite the conviction of her former husband, the lack of a body has inevitably allowed doubts to linger.
“Hopefully if they found her body it’ll put this all to rest,” Aguirre said.