The husband of a 41-year-old Washington woman reported missing late Tuesday night near Anaehoomalu Bay has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Sonam Saxena, 43, of Bellevue, Washington, was taken into police custody Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the investigation of a body discovered earlier in the day near Anaehoomalu Bay, the Hawaii Police Department said in a Wednesday afternoon press release.
The identity of the woman’s body was being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin, police said. An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.
“However, the body was located in the general area where Smriti Saxena was reported as a missing person and last seen late Tuesday evening,” the media release reads.
The search for Smriti Saxena got underway late Tuesday when police were dispatched to the Waikoloa Beach Resort area after receiving a report of the missing 41-year-old woman who’d last been seen around 10:30 p.m. at Lava Lava Beach Club. A Nixle alert was sent to the public around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The body was located before 9 a.m. Wednesday in the area where Smriti Saxena was reported as having last been seen.
After the body was located, but before his arrest, Sonam Saxena spoke with West Hawaii Today, professing his love for Smriti Saxena and pleading for the public’s help locating the mother of their two children.
Sonam Saxena said he last saw Smriti Saxena on the shoreline south of Anaehoomalu Bay when he went back to their Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort to fetch her inhaler for her asthma around 10 p.m. Tuesday. They had reached the area following an approximately 20-minute walk after enjoying libations at Lava Lava Beach Club.
“She got an asthma attack right there on the beach and she was feeling weak and she didn’t want to walk all the way back because it’s almost a 20-minute walk back from that beach to our room,” said Sonam Saxena, a product manager for Google Cloud in Seattle. “So, I said, ‘hey, you know what? You stay here, you have your phone with you and I’ll just go to the room grab your inhaler and pump and come back.’
“I did that. Went to the room, picked up the inhaler, came back, and she was missing,” Sonam Saxena said of Smriti Saxena, who is a business program manager for Microsoft.
Sonam Saxena estimated he was gone for no more than 40 to 50 minutes as he tried to rush knowing that his wife was uncomfortable and in need of her inhaler. At the secluded beach, her purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were all there, but no sign of the woman with whom he said he’s been in love since 2001.
“She was missing from there, from that spot,” he told West Hawaii Today around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Sonam Saxena said he then headed back to the hotel room, in the dark of night, hoping that she’d tried to make her way there.
“I was disturbed because why would she leave her purse and her phone on the beach and head back to the room? It just seemed really odd,” he said. “So I rushed back to the room. I checked the room and I saw that she wasn’t in the room. So I went downstairs and that’s when I dialed 911.”
Prior to the arrival of police, Sonam Saxena said he and security searched the beach.
“We called out for her, but there was nothing,” he said. “No response.”
The pair, married for 17 years with two children, ages 13 and 8, come to Hawaii every year to celebrate their eldest child’s birthday. Sonam Saxena said Wednesday morning that his children were with him during the search.
“Any word that we can get out there so that more people about this it will be very helpful,” he told the newspaper.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Keith Simeona at 326-4646, ext. 281, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be reached by calling the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.