Police arrest missing Washington woman’s husband after body found

  • SMIRITI SAXENA

A 43-year-old Bellvue, Wash., man has been arrested by police on suspicion of murdering his 41-year-old wife.

According to a Hawaii Police Department statement, a woman’s body was found this morning near Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala.

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Police have not released the identity of the woman, pending positive identification and notification of next of kin, but the body was discovered in the general area where 41-year-old Smriti Saxena of Bellevue was reported missing after last being seen at about 10:30 Tuesday night at the Lava Lava Beach Club.

Police said the man taken into custody is Sonam Saxena, the woman’s husband. He is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder as Kona Criminal Investigation Section detectives continue to investigate.

West Hawaii Today talked to Sonam Saxena today, prior to his apprehension by police. Saxena, a product manager for Google Cloud in Seattle, said his wife suffered “an asthma attack right there on the beach.”

“She was feeling weak and she didn’t want to walk all the way back because it’s almost a 20-minute walk back from that beach to our room,” Sonam Saxena said. “So, I said, ‘hey, you know what? You stay here, you have your phone with you and I’ll just go to the room grab your inhaler and pump and come back.’

“I did that. Went to the room, picked up the inhaler, came back, and she was missing.”

Sonam Saxena said his wife was a business program manager for Microsoft.

He estimated he was gone for no more than 40 to 50 minutes as he tried to rush knowing that Smriti Saxena was uncomfortable and in need of her inhaler. At the secluded beach, her purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were all there, but no sign of the woman whom he said he’s been in love with since 2001.

“She was missing from there, from that spot,” he said.

Sonam Saxena said he headed back to the hotel room, in the dark of night, hoping that she’d tried to make her way there.

“I was disturbed because why would she leave her purse and her phone on the beach and head back to the room. It just seemed really odd,” he said. “So I rushed back to the room. I checked the room and I saw that she wasn’t in the room. So I went downstairs and that’s when I dialed 911.”

Prior to the arrival of police, Sonam Saxena said he and security searched the beach.

Police said an autopsy is scheduled on the body to determine the exact cause of death.

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Police ask anyone who may have been in the area of the south beach area of Anaehoomalu Bay Tuesday evening to call the police nonemergency number at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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