Police hope autopsy will help solve Puna murder

  • CAPT. RANDALL MEDEIROS

Police investigators still aren’t sure whether the charred body found Monday morning inside a torched truck in Puna is a man or woman.

But an autopsy scheduled for today will answer that question and hopefully provide additional clues to those attempting to solve the Christmas Day murder mystery.

“We’re still sorting through details and making arrangements for the autopsy,” Capt. Randall Medeiros of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division said Tuesday. “We have a possible person who it may be, who we’re looking at.”

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According to police, someone saw the truck, still burning, at about 10 a.m. on Kehaulani Street, a side road between 37th and 39th avenues near Pohaku Drive in the Orchidland Estates subdivision, and called dispatch.

“The Fire Department went there, extinguished the flames, and noticed there was the body,” Medeiros said. Asked if the body was found in the driver’s seat, Medeiros replied that the body was found “inside the vehicle” and added that releasing more information might jeopardize the investigation.

Police said in a written release Monday they have reason to “suspect that this incident is related to evidence located at another property” on 39th Avenue near Aulii Street, about two miles away from where the truck and body were found.

When the Tribune-Herald inquired if the second location is the potential murder scene, Medeiros replied, “It’s too early to say, but there’s something that suggested to us that the two scenes are tied together.” He declined to elaborate.

“It’s very early in the investigation,” Medeiros added, and said he’s hoping potential witnesses will come forward with information about what occurred at both locations.

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Anyone with information is asked to call the police nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Kayne Kelii at 961-2378 or Kayne.kelii@hawaiicounty.gov. Those who prefer anonymity can call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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