by David Corrigan
KALAPANA, Hawaii – The body of a young female was discovered in the ocean fronting the Kalapana lava viewing area on Tuesday morning.
Hawaii County fire officials say a lava tour boat stayed with body until Rescue personnel could retrieve the body after 7 a.m.
UPDATED – May 30, 2013: Hawaiʻi County police say they have reclassified this from a coroner’s inquest to a murder case.
Police report that an autopsy conducted Wednesday (May 29) determined that the female victim died of strangulation and that the manner of death was homicide.
Police have not yet identified the body, described as that of a Caucasian woman possibly in her late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-8 with a slim build, short brown hair and a tattoo of “Veritas” on her lower back.
May 28, 2013: Hawaii County police issued the following media release:
|Hawaiʻi Police Department
Criminal Investigations Section, Area I
Lieutenant Gregory Esteban
Report No. C13014098
Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating the discovery of a body in waters off Kalapana in the Puna district.At 6:28 a.m. Tuesday (May 28), personnel from the Hawaiʻi Police Department and Hawaiʻi Fire Department responded to a report of a body caught in a fishing line from a nearby fishing boat in the ocean off one of the lava viewing areas. Another vessel in the area contacted authorities and remained with the body until divers from the Fire Department and their helicopter recovered the remains and met with police at a temporary landing zone.
Detectives from the Area 1 Criminal Investigations Section responded to the location and are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a coroners inquest.
The body is that of a Caucasian female possibly in her late 20s or early 30s, about 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-8 with a slim build, short brown hair and a tattoo of “Veritas” on her lower back. Detectives are reviewing recent missing persons records in an attempt to identify the female.
Police have not ruled out foul play. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning to determine the exact cause of death.
Police ask that anyone who may know the female or have information on this case contact Detective Robert Almeida at 961-2386or firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia at 961-2278 or email@example.com.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.