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Big Isle’s museum’s goddess of the sea sculpture beheaded

HILO >> A Hawaii island museum’s beloved sculpture of the Hawaiian goddess of the sea has been beheaded.

The heads of the goddess and the turtle she is depicted riding were removed from the sculpture during the weekend of June 24, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. The sculpture is outside the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, which is asking for help in recovering the heads.

Marlene Murray, the museum’s executive director, said it is strange that whoever did this did not just knock the heads off — they took them.

“Mostly, people ask why, why would somebody do such a thing?” she said. “I guess I’m surprised, too, how many people have come forward and said they just loved it.”

The sculpture of goddess Namakaokahai was carved from lava rock throughout the course of two years by sculptor Fred Soriano, who said he can repair it if the heads are returned.

“It’s making me wonder,” Soriano said. “The cut, it’s kind of clean and precise. I don’t know if these were professional art thieves.”

Soriano donated the sculpture to the museum a few years ago in response to a request from a community leader. Prior to that, he listed the sculpture for sale at $10,000. The museum estimates its current value at $15,000.

Surveillance video from neighboring businesses might help find those responsible, police said.

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