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Body of woman, 46, is found in cane field

The death of the Hilo grandmother, missing since March 5, appears suspicious, police say

By Leila Fujimori

LAST UPDATED: 8:59 a.m. HST, Apr 2, 2011

The family of a 46-year-old Hilo woman whose remains were found Monday in a fallow sugar cane field in Hama­kua are hoping the public can help provide “evidence to prosecute whoever did this,” the woman’s sister said yesterday.

An anonymous tip led to the discovery of the badly decomposed body of Myra H. Hata­yama. She was positively identified yesterday through X-rays and dental rec­ords, police said.

“She didn’t have to die this way,” said her sister Sandra Ai. “It’s good that we found her, but it’s not what we wanted. We wanted to find her alive.”

Ai said her sister’s 24-year-old daughter reported her mother missing March 5 after she became concerned when Hata­yama failed to pick up her 5-year-old granddaughter, whom she baby-sat every Saturday.

Hawaii County police Lt. Greg­ory Este­ban said that the circumstances are highly suspicious, and “the evidence at this point does not support the theory of suicide or an accident.”

Police are waiting for additional forensic analysis, including toxicology and tissue analysis.

Police have received calls about the case and are following leads, Este­ban said.

After police initially received an anonymous tip, detectives followed up on information from another source. That led to the body’s discovery on the side of a cane haul road in an overgrown area not visible from the road, Este­ban said.

Ai said the family took out a paid advertisement in the Hilo Tribune-Herald, which ran Thursday.

Anyone with information is asked to call police Detective Reed Mahuna at 961-2384 or Crime­Stop­pers at 961-8300 or 329-8181.

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