Body found on Saddle, foul play suspected

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A man’s body was found early Tuesday morning along the new Saddle Road, also known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, and police suspect foul play.

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A man’s body was found early Tuesday morning along the new Saddle Road, also known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, and police suspect foul play.

Shortly after 5 a.m. Tuesday, police received information that led officers to a silver Honda SUV that was parked against the flow of traffic near the 27-mile marker of the highway. An unresponsive man was inside.

“We have made positive identification through fingerprints. We have not been able to contact the next of kin, but that’s being actively pursued, as well,” Lt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section said early Tuesday evening.

The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest pending the outcome of an autopsy scheduled for today.

Police detectives also are investigating a report received shortly before midnight Monday evening of a shooting on Alaloa Road in the upper Waiakea Uka area.

“We did not find any evidence of the shooting at that residence,” Esteban said. “We did, however, find evidence that may link the Honda SUV that was found on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to that location.”

A first-degree terroristic threatening investigation was opened in the reported Alaloa Road incident.

“We do not believe that this shooting and the discovery of the body on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway is in anyway connected to the shooting incident last week,” Esteban said.

The Dec. 29 incident, which occurred in the upper Kaumana area, involved a 2015 Toyota pickup that was riddled with bullets.

A 23-year-old Keaau man who was a passenger in the truck called police shortly after midnight and told them someone in a late-model white Toyota sedan shot numerous times at the truck while following it down Kaumana Drive.

Officers spotted the sedan on the Puainako Street extension and pursued it, but the driver of the sedan got away while driving toward Puna on Highway 11.

Police are asking anyone who saw the silver Honda SUV parked along Saddle Road, saw a man hitchhiking toward Kona or picked up a hitchhiker and took him to Kona to contact either Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386 or robert.almeida@hawaiicounty.gov or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 grant.todd@hawaiicounty.gov.

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Those who prefer anonymity can call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

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

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