Washington Man Suspected of Murder Remains in Custody

February 20, 2020, 2:25 PM HST (Updated February 20, 2020, 2:25 PM)
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Smriti Saxena.

A man arrested on suspicion of murder remains in custody as authorities determine whether to proceed with charges or release him.

Sonam Saxena, 43, of Bellevue, Washington, was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after a woman’s body was discovered near ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay in the early morning hours. The identity of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of kin.

However, the body was found in the general area where Saxena’s wife, Smriti, went missing the night before. Hawai‘i Police Department put out a text alert at approximately 1:30 a.m. indicating they were searching for 41-year-old Smriti Saxena, who was last seen near Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa.

Hawai‘i Police Area II Assistant Police Chief Robert Wagner said an autopsy on the victim began today, but is not yet completed. It will determine the exact cause of death.

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Area II Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation. Police are allowed to hold Saxena for 48 hours before filing official charges.

Saxena, a product manager for Google Cloud, took to Twitter prior to his arrest, tagged Gov. David Ige in a tweet, stating that his wife was missing and police weren’t taking his calls.

Saxena spoke to West Hawai‘i Today Wednesday where he explained how they visit Hawaii every year to celebrate their eldest child’s birthday.

The Washington man also told the local media outlet that his wife suffered an asthma attack the night she disappeared.

Police ask anyone who may have been in the area of the south beach area of ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay on Feb. 18 to contact Detective Keith Simeona at 808-326-4646 x281 or email [email protected] or the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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