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Police arrest 41-year-old man in Punahou Street murder

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Mary Beth San Juan

Police have arrested a 41-year-old man in connection with the murder of a Honolulu real estate broker and aspiring actress.

He was identified today as Vernon Baker, who has no local address. No charges had been filed as of this evening.

The body of Mary Beth San Juan, 56, was found bound, gagged and wrapped in a rug, lying in the driveway of San Juan’s of 1224 Punahou St. residence Tuesday night by her ex-husband.

Baker, described as an acquaintance of San Juan’s, was arrested at Ala Moana Center shortly after 2:30 p.m. today, according to Maj. Richard Robinson on the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Robinson said tips from the public aided police in identifying the suspect and in recovering San Juan’s wallet from a dumpster on Lemon Street in Waikiki. Robinson said the suspect is believed to have resided in Waikiki.

Following his arrest, the suspect was transported to an area hospital for treatment of “minor unrelated injuries,” according to HPD spokesperson Michelle Yu.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said San Juan was stabbed multiple times.

Robinson said the suspect matched the general description of a person caught on video surveillance using San Juan’s ATM card at the First Hawaiian Bank at Manoa Marketplace.

The case has been classified as a second-degree murder.

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