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Body of missing musician is found below Pali Lookout

By Michael Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 1:03 a.m. HST, Dec 3, 2012

Honolulu police are investigating the death of local musician Leaia Siosefa “Sefa” Tuai, whose body was discovered Sunday below the Pali Lookout.

Tuai, the subject of a Honolulu CrimeStoppers alert, had not been seen since Thursday.

The 45-year-old singer and guitarist was an established figure in the local music scene, playing alongside Sonny Kalua, Hoku Keolanui, Sam Doval, Shawn Ishimoto and others.

Tuai was born in New Zealand and raised on Oahu’s North Shore, where he attended Kahuku High School and worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

After a stint in the Marine Corps, Tuai returned to Hawaii and worked at several restaurants and bars.

According to biography posted on Tuai’s professional website, Tuai gained notice as a “the singing bartender,” pouring drinks as he sang along to karaoke.

In his biography, Tuai credited Kawika Gapero with launching his professional musical career by recruiting him for a tour of Japan.

The cause of death has not yet been determined and police are investigating the case as an unattended death.

Friends reportedly became concerned when Tuai did not show up for work on Friday. Tuai’s car was discovered near the Pali Lookout on Saturday.

Fire rescue personnel were called to aid in the search for Tuai at 6 a.m. on Sunday. Tuai’s body was located about an hour and a half later and retrieved via helicopter.

The lookout was closed for several hours while the recover and investigation were underway.

The cause of death has not yet been determined. 

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