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Keaʻau Man Arrested in Connection to a Reported Murder in HPP

May 1, 2020, 8:24 PM HST
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Robert Dean Merrill

A Keaʻau man was arrested in connection with the death of an elderly woman at a home in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

According to Hawai‘i Police Department, Puna patrol officers responded to a residence on 15th Avenue, shortly before 9 a.m. When they arrived on scene, officers came into contact with 61-year-old Robert Dean Merrill outside the home. When directed to a bedroom in the house, police discovered the unresponsive victim with severe injuries to her head and facial areas.

At 9:45 a.m., Merrill was arrested at the scene and transported to the Hilo cellblock. At the same time, detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation that has been classified as second-degree murder.

The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 12:39 p.m. An autopsy was performed this afternoon, and the pathologist concluded that the victim died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, face and neck. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending identification and notification of next of kin.

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Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 808-961-2383 or [email protected] or the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.

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This is the second murder investigation police have begun this week. On April 28, James Bonham was arrested and later charged with second-degree murder after reportedly shooting his son in the back.

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