UPDATE: Police Recover Remains Discovered on Mauna Kea
by Dave Smith
***Updated at 6:06 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2.***
Police today recovered human skeletal remains at a remote location at the 12,000-foot elevation of Mauna Kea.
They were first discovered on Tuesday by a native Hawaiian cultural hiking group.
Police located the remains with the help of officers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and a ranger from the Office of Mauna Kea Management.
A coroner’s inquest has been opened in the case as detectives work to determine the identity of the remains.
Posted at 5:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1:
A group hiking on Mauna Kea may have solved a mystery that has lingered for almost six years.
On Tuesday, members of Huaka`i I Na `Aina Mauna, a native Hawaiian cultural hiking group, came across bones scattered across an extended area.
A physician with the group identified the bones as human.
That assessment was confirmed when the group later found a pelvic bone containing an artificial hip replacement.
Members of the group surmised that the remains could be those of a 67-year-old Michigan man who went missing after going for a hike to the mountain’s 13,796-foot summit on Dec. 5, 2007.
The man, Brian Murphy, had left the visitor’s center at the 9,200-foot-level at about noon wearing only a light shirt and slacks. He made the trip despite warnings from a state ranger about the difficulty of the attempt and a forecast of an impending snowstorm.
When Murphy failed to return, an extensive search was conducted that continued until Dec. 30. No sign of the man was found.
Police Department spokeswoman Chris Loos today said police have been informed of the group’s find and are investigating it.
According to a spokesman for the group, the remains were found about a half-mile from Lake Waiau, which is located at an elevation of about 13,000 feet.
He said a Hawaiian prayer was said for the remains which were left undisturbed.