Body spotted in ocean could be missing North Kohala man

  • The coastline at Hanaula Gulch, near where a body was recently spotted, is pictured in January. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today).

KAILUA-KONA — A Kapaau man is missing after he left to catch crab and pick opihi in the Hanaula Gulch area over the weekend.

On Monday afternoon, Hawaii Police stated they were looking for a missing man, 58-year-old Charles Kanoe Reyes. He was last seen at home by family on Saturday when he left to go to the shoreline to collect seafood.

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On Sunday morning, his vehicle, a white Mazda Protégé sedan, was found by family members parked at a gate at the north end of Union Mill Road. Beyond the gate is a trail to the shoreline.

A backpack was found on a rocky cliff above the shoreline not far from the end of the trail. Family members identified it as belonging to Reyes.

Hawaii Fire officials responded to the same area on Sunday when they met with hikers reporting to have seen a body floating face down in the ocean about 30 yards offshore from the steep cliff. The chopper from Waiakea Rescue Station arrived on scene and crew observed what appeared to be a large tiger shark circling the body.

“Attempts were made to recover the body using the Billy Pugh net but due to the position of the body, attempts were unsuccessful,” fire officials state.

While in the process of putting a Fire Rescue Specialist in the Billy Pugh net to recover the body, officials say a bystander reported a shark submerged the body and it was no longer visible.

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The chopper continued its aerial search until Hawaii Police arrived on scene.

Police wouldn’t say Monday whether the cases were directly connected. But police did ask anyone who may have information on Reyes to call Officer Dayton Tagaca at 889-6540.

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