East Hawaii News

2011 Death in Hilo Reclassified a Murder

June 20, 2014, 5:56 PM HST
* Updated June 20, 6:15 PM
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The death of a Hilo woman initially thought not to involve foul play has been reclassified as a murder.

On Sept. 20, 2011, police were called to a Wainaku home following a report of a woman who was not breathing.

Officers found the body of 20-year-old Sommer Ferreira in the laundry room of the house where she lived.

An initial inquiry into her death resulted in a determination that no foul play was involved.

However, police said information received recently has prompted the reopening of the case as a homicide investigation.

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A suspect has been identified and the case has been routed to county prosecutors for further review.

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Capt. Robert Wagner of the Criminal Investigative Division today declined to say whether the suspect was Xavier “Pee Wee” Cortez Jr., who was indicted in January of this year for murder in the death of Ferreira’s 19-month-old daughter, Pomaikai Ferreira, in January 2011.

“We’re not releasing information on the suspect at this time,” Wagner said.

An autopsy determined that Pomaikai Ferreira died as the result of “abusive” head trauma.

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At the time, Cortez lived with Sommer Ferreira and her daughter at Riverside Apartments on Ohai Street.

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