East Hawaii News

Police Identify Remains Found by Native Hawaiian Group on Mauna Kea

August 8, 2013, 2:43 PM HST
* Updated August 9, 1:15 PM
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Human remains discovered by a group hiking on Mauna Kea have helped to solve a mystery that has persisted for more than six years.

The Hawai`i Police Department today released the results of a dental records analysis which showed that the remains were those of Brian Patrick Murphy of Plymouth, Michigan, who was 67 when he was reported missing from that area in December 2007.

Members of Huaka`i I Na `Aina Mauna, a native Hawaiian cultural hiking group, came across Murphy’s bones on July 30 scattered across an extended area at the 12,000 foot elevation of Mauna Kea. The remains included an artificial hip replacement.

In December of 2007, Murphy had reportedly 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 at the time about the difficulty of the attempt and a forecast of an impending snowstorm.

When Murphy failed to return, an extensive search was conducted, but no sign of the man was ever found until last week.

Lake Waiau, at the 13,000 foot elevation of Mauna Kea.

Lake Waiau, at the 13,000 foot elevation of Mauna Kea.


Police Department spokeswoman Chris Loos had earlier informed Big Island Now that police were investigating the group’s discovery.


According to a spokesman for Huaka`i I Na `Aina Mauna, the remains were found approximately a half-mile from Lake Waiau, which is located at an elevation of about 13,000 feet. The group said a Hawaiian prayer for the bones, which were left undisturbed until police later recovered them for analysis.

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