HUNTINGTON TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The search of a Luzerne County property continues tonight in connection with missing persons cold case that is more than 52 years old.
22-year-old Ilonka Cann vanished without a trace in 1970 from her home near Shickshinny. This week, police began searching a property in that area on Monday.
Investigators are not officially confirming that this search is connected to the disappearance of Ilonka Cann, only to say it is part of a decades long missing persons case, so the dots are easily connected.
Today, Eyewitness News spoke with a veteran prosecutor, Greg Fellerman, who says cold cases like these can be a real challenge for investigators, so it’s not unusual that they are keeping tight lipped about what they are doing.
“Well something triggered this. Something activated this search because it’s a cold case,” says Fellerman, who was an assistant Luzerne County District Attorney for nearly ten years, and handled homicide investigations and cold cases. He was not involved in the Cann case. .
Fellerman is watching very closely as the investigation into the disappearance of Ilonka Cann unfolds.
“Something had to come to the investigators. They stumbled over evidence. Somebody came forward. Something prompted this investigation up there,” says Fellerman.
State police have been searching a wooded area as well as ponds on the property located on Cann road in Huntington Township. Ilonka Cann, who was pregnant at the time, disappeared on May 26th of 1970. Her husband came home that day and found their 15 month old baby alone and crying. Despite decades of searches, Cann was never found.
“You have to do everything that a jury is going to expect, so when we used to go to a homicide scene, did you get the finger printing? Did you take gunshot residue? You take all the evidence you can because when you go into a courtroom you want to eliminate any of the jury’s questions.” explains Fellerman
Fellerman says that with new technology and investigative tools and techniques, the chances of solving cold cases are greater than every before.
“They now have the tools that didn’t exit 20, 30, 40 years ago. Now the technology allow it if they did a good investigation as we talked about earlier. Where they gather all the evidence and stored the evidence properly they can go back and use it for testing.” says Fellerman.
Cann vanished without a trace on May 26 of 1970.