Anaehoomalu Bay murder investigation continues

  • Sonam Saxena from LinkedIn page

  • Smriti Saxena

A Seattle-based Google manager remained behind bars Thursday as the murder investigation into the death of his 41-year-old wife at Anaehoomalu Bay continued.

The Hawaii Police Department said Thursday evening that detectives would have results of an autopsy today and possibly positive identification of the body found Wednesday morning. The body was located “in the general area” where Sonam Saxena’s wife of 17 years, Smriti Saxena, had last been seen the night prior, however.

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Sonam Saxena has been in police custody on suspicion of second-degree murder since his arrest Wednesday afternoon. Per state law, police must file charges within 48 hours of arrest, meaning police have until this afternoon to charge Sonam Saxena or release him pending investigation.

Smriti Saxena, a mother of two, had been a business program manager for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, since March 2018, after moving up from a business analyst there from 2015-17, according to her LinkedIn page.

“Microsoft is unable to accommodate your request for a comment at this time,” a representative responded via email when posed questions about the employee by West Hawaii Today, including whether the company was helping the family during this time.

Though Smriti Saxena’s Facebook page is private, family and/or friends posted kind comments about the woman on social media. Attempts to reach those posters were unsuccessful as of press-time Thursday.

“She was one of the gentlest people I have known always smiling and warm,” Shveta Brahma wrote on a Facebook post of a West Hawaii Today article.

Another, Pankaj Mehta, wrote “We will dearly miss you!! I am in shock. RIP.”

Seattle CBS-affiliate KIRO-TV said its staff reached out to Bellevue Police who reported not having a history with the family. The station also didn’t have much luck with a visit to the home and neighbors didn’t seem to know the Saxenas well.

Prior to Sonam Saxena’s arrest on suspicion of second-degree murder, he 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, who have come to Hawaii for years to celebrate their eldest daughter’s birthday.

He stated he last saw Smriti Saxena around 10:30 p.m. when he went back to their hotel room to retrieve her inhaler after the woman suffered an asthma attack after a 20-minute walk they took heading south along the bay after leaving the Lava Lava Beach Club.

When he returned, about 40 to 50 minutes later, he said, there was no sign of Smriti Saxena though her purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were all there. He stated he then went back to the hotel to see if she’d perhaps walked back on her own, but found no sign of her in her room. At that point, he said, he called 911 and got the help of hotel security and headed back to the spot where he’d last seen his wife.

“We called out for her, but there was nothing,” he said. “No response.”

Also around the time he spoke with West Hawaii Today, Sonam Saxena took to social media asking for help and expressing frustration with the investigation.

On his LinkedIn page, which stated he has been a product manager for Google Cloud for about a year and a half, he posted: “Linkedin network my wife Smriti Saxena is missing. Can you please promote this tweet so that I can tell my daughters where their Mom is #help.”

On Twitter, he tweeted at Gov. David Ige, the Big Island Press Club and others his frustration with the investigation. He also expressed discontent with the investigation as well to West Hawaii Today, questioning investigative tactics and asking for phone numbers and other details to contact police.

“@GovHawaii my wife has been missing since last night and @Hawaii_Police is busy giving interviews to media about body recovered, but is unwilling to pick up my phone,” he wrote.

West Hawaii Today was last directly contacted by Sonam Saxena at 1:19 p.m. Wednesday when he texted the newspaper a link to that tweet and asked the newspaper, “Can you please retweet this so that this has visibility.”

Google did not respond for comment regarding Sonam Saxena as of press-time Thursday. His LinkedIn page also indicates he previously worked for Microsoft, and graduated from Harvard Business School with a master’s degree in general management.

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Both Smriti and Sonam Saxena listed on their LinkedIn pages being graduates of Mumbai University in India. Each also earned master’s degrees at Washington schools.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Keith Simeona at 326-4646, ext. 281, or via email to keith.simeona@hawaiicounty.gov. He can also be reached by calling the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.