Details of Disappearance
Rowan was last seen in Kauai County, Hawaii on March 14, 2006. He lived with his parents, Aurora Solveig Fehring Dingwall and Alan Gareth Dingwall. The family had several guests staying on their six-acre property: Timothy Noonan
, Daniel Arroyo
and Christina Michelle MacNees, who was pregnant.
MacNees and Arroyo were going to get married, and Rowan's mother's business partner, Carl Rotstein
, was going to be the best man at the wedding. They were all also planning to celebrate Rowan's second birthday, which was in a couple of days.
That morning, after forty days of rain, the Kaloko Dam was breached and spilled an estimated 400 million gallons of water on the Kauai North Shore community below it. Arroyo, MacNees, Rotstein, Noonan and the Dingwall family were all swept away.
MacNees's body and the bodies of Rowan's parents were later found; photos of them are posted with this case summary. The other four victims have never been located.
The dam, which was over a century old, was owned by James Pflueger, one of the wealthiest and most prominent businessmen in Hawaii.
After its collapse, authorities determined it had never been inspected by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), although state law requires all dams to be inspected at least once every five years. The DLNR said Pflueger had refused to let them conduct any inspections.
A grand jury subsequently indicted Pflueger for seven counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangerment because he had allegedly covered the dam's spillway, an emergency feature used to keep water from flowing over the top of the dam, and caused the disaster.
A photo of Pflueger, who was in his eighties at the time, is posted with this case summary. In July 2013, seven years after the dam break, he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors. Pflueger pleaded guilty to one felony count of first-degree reckless endangerment.
His company, Pacific 808 Properties, took responsibility for the manslaughter charges and agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for each victim, a total of $350,000. None of that money will go to the victims' families; instead, it will go to the state and be used to pay for dam inspections.
Pflueger was sentenced to seven months in jail, five years of probation and a $7,000 fine for his role in the disaster. Just a few weeks into his sentence, however, he was released and put on home detention because of health reasons.
Arroyo, Noonan, Rotstein and Rowan are all presumed drowned, but their bodies have never been located.