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Man Charged with Manslaughter in Kona Assault

December 16, 2021, 4:05 PM HST
* Updated December 17, 6:20 AM
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Daniel Watai-Simeona

A Kailua-Kona man was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 16 for manslaughter, stemming from an assault that occurred on Henry Street in Kailua-Kona earlier this month.

The Hawai‘i Police Department said in a news release Thursday that detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section (CIS) took in 28-year-old Daniel Watai-Simeona.

Kona patrol officers responded to a call of a traffic accident involving a pedestrian on Friday, Dec. 3, at 10:25 p.m., but later determined that the incident was an assault. The victim reportedly stopped his vehicle on Henry Street to address an incident involving an animal. While outside of his vehicle, he was assaulted by an unknown male passer-by who then left the area.

Due to the severity of his injuries, the victim was flown to Queen’s Medical Center on O‘ahu where he died on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 13, police said.

The victim has been identified as 64-year-old Menry Mendoza of Captain Cook.

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On Wednesday, Dec. 15, after identifying and interviewing numerous witnesses, CIS detectives determined that Watai-Simeona was the person who assaulted Mendoza. Personnel from Area II Criminal Investigation Division and Kona Patrol located and took Watai-Simeona into custody on Thursday, Dec. 16.

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That afternoon, after conferring with County Prosecutors, Watai-Simeona was charged with one-count of manslaughter. He is currently being held at the Kealakehe Police Station pending his initial court appearance on Friday, Dec. 17. His bail is set at $250,000.

He was also arrested for an outstanding $300 bench warrant.

Anyone who may have information on this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Tyler Prokopec at 808-326-4646 Ext. 224; via email at [email protected] or contact the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.

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Citizens who wish to remain anonymous can make a tip through Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers does not record any calls or subscribe to caller ID.

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