Family, friends mourn death of Oregon woman

  • MEGAN MAY FUNDERBURK

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, the rank of police Capt. Greg Esteban was erroneously reported. The Tribune-Herald regrets the error.

There was an outpouring of grief, condolences and remembrances on social media following the discovery of the body of a 24-year-old Hilo woman killed by an apparent fall off a cliff near Wainaku Scenic Point on the northern outskirts of Hilo.

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Capt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division said Monday police are still awaiting confirmation of the identity of the body found Sunday morning and that an autopsy is pending.

Family members, however, confirmed the body is Megan May Funderburk, who went missing Feb. 9.

“At this time, foul play is not suspected,” police said in a statement.

“It is with a heavy heart we have an update. Megan was walking on a narrow trail near a cliff, she fell and did not survive the fall,” Jessica Cleeton Funderburk, Megan Funderburk’s stepmother, posted Saturday on Facebook. “At this time please give the family room to be together without phone calls or texts.”

Funderburk’s father, David Funderburk, posted that his daughter “will always be in our hearts.”

“Her life was full of love for others and love of life,” David Funderburk said. “… I want to thank everybody for their outpour of love and support in helping me and my family during this difficult time. I can’t tell you how much it has been helping me to hear about how my precious daughter touched so many lives.”

He said celebrations of life for his daughter, who was originally from Oregon but lived on the Big Island for about five years, will be held in both places.

“She was so beautifully amazing. It was truly a blessing to call her my friend,” one individual posted. “She taught me a lot about myself and I’m so grateful to have known her. I am so unbelievably sorry for your loss, sending you all love.”

Another said Megan Funderburk “challenged me at a critical time in my life.”

“I learned so much about what it means to live for the present and cherish relationships more than plans and expectations, and I still have a lot to learn,” that person said.

Megan Funderburk’s biological mother, Kellie Anne Carlson, told KOBI-TV in Medford, Ore. — where Megan Funderburk grew up — she filed the missing person report with the Hawaii Police Department after her daughter’s iPhone was found at Wainaku Scenic Point. Funderburk’s shawl and one shoe also were found nearby.

“I knew something was wrong, her phone being there, you know, her coat, the one shoe. It just wasn’t like Megan, and it just wasn’t right,” Carlson told the television station.

Carlson said her daughter “stood out.”

“You would never forget if you met Megan,” she said. “… This was a very sweet, loving nurturing person, and she loved people.

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“The fact that her life got cut short just makes me ill, but I am so happy about the beautiful memories that she left for all of us.”

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

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