An Oahu grand jury has indicted a 21-year-old man with murder in connection with the death of his 19-year-old girlfriend in Wahiawa.
The jury returned an indictment Wednesday, charging Kaniala K. Avilla-Rapoza with second-degree murder. Police found the body of Nelibeth Albert at Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreation Area Friday covered by branches and leaves.
Avilla-Rapoza’s arraignment is set for Tuesday at Circuit Court. He remains in custody at the Oahu Community Correctional Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Police said Avilla-Rapoza admitted he killed Albert by choking her, according to a court document. He led police down a trail at the Wahiawa Freshwater State Recreation Area to Albert’s body.
The court document said Avilla-Rapoza told police he met Albert at the park on May 15 and walked down the trail when he choked her with both hands.
Avilla-Rapoza and Albert had been dating for two months but had known one another since they were classmates at Leilehua High School.
Avilla-Rapoza has Asperger’s syndrome. Individuals with the disorder have impaired social and communication skills. Albert was autistic, according to her aunt.
Albert’s father reported her daughter missing on the night of May 16. The father’s girlfriend told police she last saw Albert at their Wahiawa apartment a day earlier when Albert told her she was going to a friend’s house.