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Body pulled from Ala Wai Canal identified as Minnesota visitor

Allison Schaefers
                                Police investigators recovered a body from the Ala Wai Canal on Monday.
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Police investigators recovered a body from the Ala Wai Canal on Monday.

The woman, whose bound body was discovered in the Ala Wai Canal Monday, was a visitor.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office said today that it had identified the woman as 51-year-old Shannon Bartholomew of Minneapolis. Autopsy results in the case are still pending, but a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office said the woman’s next of kin have been notified.

Police recovered Bartholomew’s body Monday at approximately 7:20 a.m. Police Homicide Lt. Dina Thoemmes said Monday that the case was classified as suspicious due to the position that the woman’s body was in when it was discovered.

Monday’s investigation prompted the closure of the right lane of Kalakaua Avenue at the bridge to Waikiki until about 1:15 p.m.

Jessica Lani Rich, president and CEO of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, said the nonprofit has reached out to the woman’s family to offer assistance. VASH responds to visitors in crisis in Hawaii, but also assists the families of visitors who may be in other countries or states.

Rich said the family was grieving and had declined to talk about Bartholomew’s death today. However, Rich said that the woman’s son told her that she had been on an unaccompanied 18-day trip to Hawaii that had started Sept. 5. Bartholomew at one time had worked in advertising and is the mother of three grown children ages 29, 27 and 25 and has a 4-year-old granddaughter, Rich said.

“We are working to assist the family in making arrangements and to discover more about what happened,” Rich said. ”It’s never good news for tourism whenever there’s a body found in the Ala Wai or anywhere else. It makes people nervous and anxious. It’s also just very, very sad.”

Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association, said the organization has been in close contact with police and “will give them time to do what they need to do.”

“It’s always a very sad situation whenever something like this happens to a visitor or a resident. In this case, the circumstances that we are reading about that may have lead to this situation are very unfortunate and don’t speak well of mankind.”

Hannemann said although a run of isolated public safety instances have been occurring, Hawaii should still be regarded as a safe destination. Visitors and residents should know that “we’ve been on it, and we aren’t letting our guard down.”

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