Authorities investigate reported assault that left Big Island man dead

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Authorities are investigating an assault that resulted in the death of an Ocean View man.

The incident occurred on April 14 when Hawai‘i Island police were dispatched at 6:30 p.m. to a property located on the 92-8300 block of Koa Lane for a report of an unknown type of disturbance. After receiving the initial call, police dispatch received a second call from the same area regarding an unresponsive male possibly suffering from a medical condition.

When Ka‘ū patrol officers arrived on scene they made contact with a woman, 53, of Ocean View, who reported she was assaulted by her neighbor, Melissa Swinson, 50, also of Ocean View.

The victim, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries, reported that while being assaulted, her boyfriend, Abel Abrojina, 60, came to her aid while carrying a machete.


The victim then reported that Swinson’s husband Todd, who was with his wife at the time of the alleged assault, took the machete away from Abrojina.

According to police, Todd Swinson then began to hit Abrojina with the machete, causing the 60-year-old to fall to the ground. Abrojina was able to retreat to a residence on the property and then collapsed.

Hawai’i Fire Department personnel responded and determined that Abrojina had no signs of life. Abrojina was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead at 1:53 a.m. on April 15.


Todd Swinson was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault and first-degree terroristic threatening. Melissa Swinson was also arrested for suspicion of third-degree assault.

The couple was taken to the Kona Police Station’s cellblock while Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation. Todd and Melissa Swinson suffered minor injuries during the altercation.

On April 16 after conferring with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, the Swinsons were released pending further investigation.


On April 18 an autopsy was performed and the forensic pathologist ruled that Abrojina had no serious injuries as a result of the assault.

The cause and manner of the death is pending standard toxicology testing. Anyone with information regarding this incident or who may have witnessed it is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at 808-960-3118; or via email at

They may also contact the Hawai’i Police Department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.

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