Friday, Dec. 01, 2023|
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A Hilo grand jury has indicted a man for the 1978 murder of a 26-year-old California woman.
The single-count indictment returned Wednesday charges 72-year-old Steven Ray Simpson with murder for the apparent beating death of Valerie Warshay, whose nude body was found in the early afternoon of April 23, 1978, by a young girl picnicking with her family at Harry K. Brown Park in Kalapana.
Warshay, who was a park ranger in Northern California, was vacationing in Hawaii and had been camping at the park, which was inundated by lava in 1990.
News accounts from the time say Warshay was dead from blows to the head and that her possessions were found nearby, ruling out robbery as the motive.
Simpson, who lived in Fern Forest at the time, was a suspect in the murder.
He is serving a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole for the strangulation murder of 24-year-old Mary Catherine Drapp, a Hilo college student whose body was found Dec. 11, 1978, in a field in Fern Forest.
Simpson remains incarcerated at Oahu Community Correctional Center, according to the Department of Public Safety website.
The indictment doesn’t specify a degree on the murder charge; it’s noted that the charge “is drafted in compliance with the statute as in effect in 1978.”
See Friday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald for a complete story.
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