Honolulu Medical Examiner Dr. Masahiko Kobayashi said Thursday that he classified the deaths of a 44-year-old Mililani man and a 17-year-old Kapolei girl as suicides because autopsy results were consistent with witness statements that they shot themselves.
“Usually we cannot tell if it is a homicide or suicide,” Kobayashi said. “In this particular case there were three witnesses — police officers.”
Shane Francisco and Tiana Pascual-Dias each died from a gunshot wound to the head, Kobayashi said. The shootings occurred inside a car at Turtle Bay Resort at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 30. The two died at Kahuku Hospital.
Francisco was the subject of a Sept. 29 CrimeStoppers bulletin that said he was missing and emotionally distraught.
The pair had a sexual relationship beginning in August 2013, according to a protective order petition filed by the girl’s mother. The petition, filed a year ago today by Edna Pascual, also indicates her then-16-year-old daughter became suicidal after Francisco threatened her days after she had told a psychiatrist about the relationship.
Honolulu Police Department spokeswomen have declined to answer any questions pertaining to the case.
Both autopsies showed a contact wound to the side of the head, indicating the muzzle was touching the skin, Kobayashi said. “If I see a contact wound, then it could be a suicide,” he said.
However, even in cases in which both victims had the same kind of wound and the gun is found at the scene, more evidence may be needed to definitively determine the manner of death, he said. Other evidence, such as a suicide note or witness accounts, could provide the information needed to make that call, Kobayashi said.
According to court documents, Pascual learned of the relationship when her daughter told her on Sept. 28, 2015, that Francisco, a neighbor, invited the girl to his apartment on Aug. 18, 2013, while his wife and children were at church, to talk about JROTC, then wanted to have a sexual encounter. The petition said he “forced her to have sex.”
On Oct. 1, 2015, Pascual brought her daughter to see a psychiatrist, to whom she acknowledged having several sexual encounters with Francisco. Five days later Francisco threatened the girl, the petition said.
When a police officer asked Pascual-Dias whether she was willing to prosecute Francisco, she became angry, confused, then ran away and tried to commit suicide, the petition said.
Pascual obtained the temporary restraining order against Francisco on Oct. 7, 2015, for threatening her daughter with imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault and extreme psychological abuse.
Nanci Kreidman, CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center, said, “I can assume there’s absolutely a power imbalance between an adult male at 44 and a 14-year-old.” She added, “The influences can be overwhelming for a young girl. She’s probably feeling empowered by his interest. … It’s hard to sort all that out as a young person.”
Kreidman encouraged parents to seek help and to work together as a family in such cases. She said the mother tried to help by obtaining a restraining order, adding that “the vast majority of restraining orders are effective.”
Bertha Bond-Rogers said her son, Kawika Rogers, was a close friend of Pascual-Dias, and both had attended Mililani High School.
“He tried to talk her into staying away from that man,” she said. “I think she was a torn soul. She was such a cute little girl. I think that man had a hold on her. I thought for sure my son would be able to talk her into leaving him.”
Bond-Rogers, a former police officer, said, “Of course, a child might resist” when approached by police to press charges. “There’s a certain way you have to approach a person.”
Pascual’s TRO said Francisco had a gun in his apartment.
Francisco, a Hawaii Army National Guard master sergeant who was a military police officer, also worked as an anti-terrorism instructor with TSO Armor &Training Inc.
His estranged wife also got a TRO against him on Oct. 7, 2015. She said on Oct. 5, 2015, he became angry with her and threw and slammed objects. Then, she heard the “sound of his gun being racked to load ammunition.”
Rodelyn Francisco said her husband had access to firearms at both jobs.
She said the abuse began July 7, 2015, when he choked her and forced her to have sex after returning from a friend’s house.
She filed for divorce July 14, 2015, and it was finalized Sept. 9. She was awarded custody of their children. The divorce decree allowed him only supervised visitation until he was clinically discharged from a state-certified sex
offender assessment program and any recommended sex offender treatment program.