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California woman killed on Maui died of asphyxiation

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, Sep 9, 2011

Medical examiners on Maui said the California attorney whose body was found at the base of a cliff on Sept. 1 died of asphyxiation.

The manner of death of Celestial S.D. Cassman, 35, of Santa Cruz, is still being investigated by the Maui Police Department, police officials said today.

A male suspect, Gerald W. Galaway Jr., 38, also of Santa Cruz, remains hospitalized, police said.

Police responded to a report of a domestic violence dispute involving a man and woman on Kahekili Highway near the 37th mile marker near Nakalele Point about 6:27 p.m. on Sept. 1. 

Officers said that after they made contact with a man in the area, he fled from them and jump off a cliff and into the ocean. 

Authorities found the body of a woman at about 7:28 p.m.

At about 6:45 a.m. the next day, Sept. 2, officers were airlifted by helicopter to the rock point at Nakalele where they found the male suspect who had jumped into the ocean and took him into custody. He was later transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center. 

Galaway was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in Cassman’s death. 

Cassman and Galaway had been staying in the same hotel room in Kaanapali since Aug. 31, and police described the incident as domestic.

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