(BIVN) – A body was recovered in the water off the Puna coastline on Sunday afternoon, but police have not confirmed if it is the Hilo man who reported missing in the area earlier that day.
Before the discovery, a missing person case was initiated in connection with 39-year-old Seth K. Waltjen.
Waltjen was last seen on Saturday, July 29, at 4:30 p.m. near the cliffs on Old Government Road between the Hawaiian Paradise Park and Hawaiian Beaches subdivisions. Waltjen was reported “to have gone opihi picking and diving and informed friends that he was only going to be gone between 30 to 60 minutes,” police say.
Waltjen was reported missing by friends on Sunday morning. “Emergency personnel, including one of HPD’s scent discriminating canines, and Hawai‘i Fire Department’s Chopper One, responded to the scene and conducted extensive land and sea checks,” police reported. A Hawaii Fire Department dive team recovered a male body from the water later that afternoon.
Police say the body was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where an autopsy has been scheduled to determine the exact cause of death. Police say they are “holding off on confirming that it may be the opihi picker reported missing today as they await positive identification and notification of next of kin.”
Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation.