Megan May Funderburk Found Dead Near Hilo

February 15, 2020, 1:47 PM HST (Updated February 26, 2020, 11:34 AM)
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Megan May Funderburk. Courtesy of David Funderburk

Megan May Funderburk has died by an apparent fall off a cliffside.

Chris Berquist, who headed up the civilian search that located Funderburk’s body at around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, said the 24-year-old fell roughly 30 feet from a cliff in the same general area of Wainaku Scenic Point where she was last seen on Feb. 9, 2020. The point is located just north of Hilo

“The timeline makes sense for it to have happened kind of right away,” Berquist said.

Volunteer teams began a coordinated search from the area where Funderburk’s phone, shoe and shawl were found, working outward in search of more evidence. Berquist said they found her in a heavily wooded area.

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Police conducted a subsequent investigation. Berquist said he can’t speak for the police and is not a criminal investigator, but from his experience as a civilian search and rescue operator, it doesn’t appear Funderburk’s death involved foul play.

“It makes sense somebody could have fallen there on their own,” he said.

Funderburk had lived on the Big Island for five years, mainly working on farms and painting houses. Her father said her dream was to run a farm of her own one day.

“She fell in love with the land and people,” David Funderburk said. “She started making a life here in the farming community. She had dreams of getting property and running an organic farm here.”

Funderburk was last seen by her boyfriend, Michael Broan, who police say has been cooperating with the investigation. Details leading up to the time she went missing can be read on Big Island Now.

Broan is at a rehabilitation center in California, according to David Funderburk, who has been in contact with him since the disappearance.

Broan left for California Monday, the day following Funderburk’s disappearance. His travel was not spontaneous but planned, said David Funderburk, adding that his daughter was aware of Broan’s intention to leave the island.

UPDATE 2:50 p.m. HST

Police detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation. At this time, foul play is not suspected. An autopsy will be performed early next week to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask anyone in the area of the Wainaku Scenic Lookout last Sunday evening Feb. 9, 2020, to contact Detective William Brown at 808-961-2384 or by email at [email protected].

They may also contact Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins at 808-961-2252 or email [email protected]gov or the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter, and radio talk show personality covering college athletics in Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing, and his work as a sports columnist.

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