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Maui couple found dead in apparent murder-suicide

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Neighbors of Leticia and Dominador Basuel never knew the couple had any problems until police arrived Thursday morning and found them dead at their Kahului house.

Letty Basuel was an outgoing and sociable woman, visiting often with neighbors, they said.

“She’s happy, that lady,” said neighbor Arsenia Barbosa. “She no say nothing. We don’t know what happened. That’s why we are so surprised. … We shock(ed).”

Maui police suspect Dominador Basuel, 69, killed Leticia Basuel, 67, whom they call his ex-wife, using a bladed instrument, then fatally shot himself in the head with a small-caliber handgun.

Police dispatch got a call at 9 a.m. from a man saying police needed to be sent to his home on Akalei Place. Officers arrived at 9:58 a.m. and found his body outside the house with the gun next to him. Letty Basuel was found inside, apparently cut with some kind of blade.

Police are investigating the case as a murder-suicide, pending the result of autopsies and further investigation, according to a news release.

Vicky Abalos, 77, who lives across the street, said police arrived at her doorstep asking whether she heard anything or knew anything about the couple. She said she hadn’t heard anything.

She saw the couple’s only child, Floyd, arrive home from work and watched as officers escorted him to the front door on the second floor of their two-story house.

“When he opened the door, suddenly he’s shouting, crying and jumping and jumping,” Abalos said. “He doesn’t know what he’s doing, so the policemen hold him.”

Barbosa said she asked the son what happened. “He told me, ‘My mom is dead.’ I say, ‘Where your dad?’ He no say nothing.”

Abalos said she and Letty Basuel were close like sisters and had been neighbors for 40 years or so. She thought the couple was happy, and did not know they were divorced.

“We never heard they are fighting,” she said. “I don’t know why this happened. We never know what’s the problem. We are all very sad now because Letty is very happy (person).”

Abalos said they would often gather at her or another neighbor’s home.

“We talk all together … happy, happy, laughing all together,” she said. “The husband stay inside the house.”

Court documents show Dominador Basuel initiated a divorce in September, and a judgment was entered Dec. 11.

Abalos said Letty Basuel had numerous health problems, was diabetic and walked with a cane.

“If she stay in the house, she lying down watching TV,” Abalos said. “The husband is the one cleaning the house because she cannot move too much because the legs are numb. … He’s taking care of her. … Cleaning and cleaning only. I say, ‘Domin not mad at you?’ She say, ‘No that’s his job.’”

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  • Must have been tough for him to take care of his diabetic wife. You got to be able to grit your teeth and do the best that you can. Been married 65 years this past December and hopefully we make it to the next anniversary? God willing or some other power?

  • What puzzles me is it took the police 58 minutes to respond? That home is 9 minutes (2.8 mi) from the police station. Not that the police actually respond from the station itself but 58 minutes is a long time from when the 911 call was placed. My prayers go out to the family. Such a tragic way to end one’s life after all those years together.

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