NewsPinellas County


Newly-obtained evidence photos shed light on red flags that led to discovery of a murdered Clearwater couple

Lawsuit: $511,000 in the couple's inheritance held up in court, daughter sues step-brother
Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:47:20-04

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- ABC Action News has obtained new evidence pictures in the grisly double murder of a Clearwater couple. Two years, since the crime rocked the Flushing Avenue neighborhood, detectives haven't been able to piece together who pulled the trigger.

Investigators believe the right tip could lead to an arrest. That's why they are releasing new evidence pictures to ABC Action News in the hopes it will help them figure out who killed the retirees in September of 2018.

ABC Action News is also uncovering the legal civil battle over the couple's inheritance.

The evidence pictures

Clearwater PD collected over 300 pieces of evidence and spoke with over 100 people. The agency is carefully releasing a fraction of that evidence. They released just seven pictures. The agency cautions they cannot release any more at this stage in the investigation because it could jeopardize the case.

Clearwater PD hopes you will see something of significance in the pictures that they haven't yet seen.

One of the first red flags that alerted neighbors something wasn't right at the Swan home was the pilling up of newspapers, as seen in one of the pictures. Neighbors hadn't seen 88 and 80-year-old David and Mina Swan for days. Noel Devine, the daughter of Mina from her first marriage, made the horrid discovery.

“He’s a good man," said David's son, Steven Swan, "He [David] was a fair man, he was an honest man, he loved his family, he loved to travel, he loved to dance."

Swan says his life has been put on hold.

"Two years, where are we?” he asked. "It's pretty horrible. I'm pretty much in denial right now. I think they are off on a cruise in the Polynesian Islands somewhere. Any time I try to get out of denial, I go into anger and I get real angry.”

The shooter

The forensics showed no sign of a break-in and Clearwater PD doesn't think anything was taken from the home.

Lieutenant Michael Walek tells ABC Action News he's not ready to call this a cold case. Instead, it's an unsolved mystery he's ready to crack open. When the crime occurred, the tips flooded in but they've since dried up.

“It is very frustrating, everyone’s got a parent. Imagine if that was your parent, you’d want closure too," said Walek.

Walek says there are a lot of unknowns and several theories on the table, including money, but they are sure the Swans were targeted.

“100%, this was not a random act," he said.

The lawsuit

For the first time, ABC Action News is uncovering a lawsuit that's holding up half a million dollars of the couple's inheritance money.

The suit was filed on July 30, 2019. Noel Devine, is the plaintiff representing the estate of Mina Swan. She's suing her step-brother, Steven Swan, who represents the estate of David Swan.

The bottom line is the suit alleges the couple's joint bank account was being misused on the part of David Swan. Additionally, it claims, that David failed to pay his wife money he agreed and signed over to her in a promissory note.

Steven Swan disparages the accusations as not factual and says he will adamantly fight the suit.

As the civil battle brews, Lt. Walek vows his agency will bring the killer to justice.

“Someday CPD detectives are going to knock on your [killer's] door and you’re going to go to jail," he said.

Detectives ask anyone who ever came into contact with the Swans around the time of the murders to give them a call. The number to call is 727-562-4141.

The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, in this case, is now up to $53,000.