The SUV that careened from atop a Hawaiian cliff onto the rocks 200 feet below presented investigators with a mystery.
One person inside the vehicle was dead. The second person, the victim’s identical twin sister, was not. Tragic accident? Or something else?
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Authorities soon uncovered years of failed businesses, deep debt and moves for the two 38-year-old women, Alexandria and Anastasia Duval (previously known as Alison and Ann Dadow), who had established themselves as yoga instructors in Florida only to change their names while living in Utah. They also discovered a tight sisterly bond that could erupt into volatile resentment.
The descriptions of those who saw the SUV’s plunge off the cliff only raised more questions.
“Prior to the crash, based on witness statements, they were stopped on the roadway, and that’s when the vehicle accelerates,” Maui police investigator Justin Mauliola says in the Oxygen series Accident, Suicide or Murder, which revisits the 2016 case in an episode premiering Saturday.
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“That information’s backed up by data we got out of the vehicle,” he says. “So the area that the vehicle went off was probably the only stretch of the road that a vehicle could have gone off, which led into our same theory that this was an intentional event.”
The site of the car crash that killed Anastasia Duval in 2016
The conclusion helped lead to murder charges against the surviving driver, Alexandria, for the death of her sister.
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Before the crash, the sisters were allegedly seen “physically fighting within the car,” while another witness allegedly heard “screaming” coming from the SUV, according to Maui Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Emlyn Higa at Alexandria’s trial.
Alexandria’s defense attorney, Birney Bervar, acknowledged that “several eyewitnesses” saw the violent interaction, but he said they would testify that Anastasia “was violently pulling my client’s hair with both of her hands — pulling it so hard it was jerking her head over the passenger side seat.” He said the crash was “an accident, not murder.”
Anastasia, left, and Alexandria Duval
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Keith Weiss, a Florida chef who says he dated Anastasia for more than six months before the sisters changed their names, told PEOPLE in 2017 that he witnessed explosive fights between them, which would erupt without warning and often in public places.
“I once got a call from Ann [Anastasia] sayingGet over here now … I’m going to kill her,’” Weiss recalled. “She actually started hitting Alison [Alexandria] with the phone. I heard it … thump, thump, thump. They were both screaming at each other.”
“I get to their apartment and there’s broken glass everywhere from wine bottles and shattered glasses. There was blood everywhere, and the bedroom door was falling off its hinges,” Weiss said. “Both of them were sitting on the couch when I walked in, and they were likeHey … how are you doing?’ Alison had a bruise on her face. I asked them if they were okay, and they were likeWe’re good, we’re fine. We’re just watching a movie.’ Meanwhile, all around them, it’s total destruction. They seemed to not know they wanted to kill each other just minutes earlier.”
On at least two occasions, the twins began fighting inside Weiss’ car, once when Anastasia was driving, he said. Both of those scuffles were “very intense” and nearly resulted in crashes.
Kimberly Keiser Henry, who attended high school with the cheerleader twins, told PEOPLE in 2017 that they “were inseparable” and had “an amazing bond.” But she acknowledged the sisters made terrible decisions, even as teenagers.
“They were sweet, sweet girls that just unfortunately made poor choices and I think the stress of that had gotten to them,” said Henry. She did not believe the crash was deliberate — and Duval was eventually found not guilty in the death of her twin.
“I don’t know how she’s going to even continue or function without her sister,” Henry said of the surviving twin. “They had that type of bond.”
The new episode of Accident, Suicide or Murder focused on the Duval case premieres Saturday on Oxygen (6 p.m. ET/PT).