Visitor’s 2020 death at Anaehoomalu Bay ruled ‘homicide’

  • Sonam Saxena

  • Smriti Saxena

The death of a 41-year-old Washington woman in February 2020 at Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala has been ruled a homicide.

Smriti Saxena’s body was found the morning of Feb. 19, 2020, hours after she was reported missing by her husband, Sonam Saxena, the night before. The couple were visiting the island to celebrate their eldest daughter’s birthday at the time of her death.

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Sonam Saxena, a Bellevue, Wash., resident and product manager for Google Cloud, was arrested that day by Hawaii Police Department officers on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the death. He was released pending investigation just 10 minutes shy of the 48-hour time period police had to file charges.

An autopsy was conducted shortly after her death; however, police at the time said more testing was needed to determine the exact cause of death. On Thursday, detectives told West Hawaii Today that Smirti Saxena’s death was determined to be caused by “homicidal violence of undetermined means.” The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The investigation remains ongoing and has yet to be forwarded to prosecutors.

Sonam Saxena spoke with West Hawaii Today hours before his arrest on Feb. 19, 2020. In that call, he professed his love for Smriti Saxena and pleaded for the public’s help locating the mother of their two children.

He also recounted the evening of Feb. 18, 2020, stating his wife suffered an asthma attack after they took a 20-minute walk to a remote beach after libations at Lava Lava Beach Club. He left her there to fetch her inhaler, but when he returned, about 40-50 minutes later, he said, there was no sign of Smriti Saxena, though her purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were all there.

He said he returned to the hotel to see if his wife was there, and, after not finding her there summonsed help. Smriti Saxena’s body was located about 7:30 a.m. the following morning along the Anaehoomalu Bay shoreline.

Attempts to reach Sonam Saxena on Thursday were unsuccessful. He remains active on social media, and per his Linkedin and Twitter pages is still a product manager for Google Cloud.

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Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Keith Simeona at 326-4646, ext. 281, or via email at keith.simeona@hawaiicounty.gov. He can also be reached by calling the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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