A 43-year-old Bellevue man was released from police custody Friday after being arrested in Hawaii earlier this week in connection with his wife’s death, police there said.
Police discovered a woman’s body Wednesday near Anaehoomalu Bay in South Kohala on the island of Hawaii, often known as the Big Island, according to a statement from the Hawaii Police Department. Authorities identified her Friday as 41-year-old Smriti Saxena, who went missing Tuesday night.
Officials conducted an autopsy and need further testing to determine her cause of death, a Friday statement said.
Her husband, Bellevue-resident Sonam Saxena, was the first to alert police of her disappearance and posted pleas for help on social media. The couple was visiting the island with their two children at the time, Big Island Now reported.
Hawaii police later arrested Sonam Saxena on one count of second-degree murder, though he was released Friday at 1:20 p.m. pending investigation.
Before he was taken into custody, Sonam Saxena — who works for Google Cloud in Seattle, according to his LinkedIn profile — told West Hawaii Today he last saw his wife on Anaehoomalu Beach around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. He said she started having an asthma attack, so he went back to their hotel to get her inhaler.
Because she was feeling weak, he told the Hawaii newspaper, she planned to stay at the beach and wait for him. When he returned, he said his wife’s purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were still there, but she was gone, according to West Hawaii Today.
“I was disturbed because why would she leave her purse and her phone on the beach and head back to the room?” he told the Hawaii newspaper. “It just seemed really odd. So I rushed back to the room. I checked the room and I saw that she wasn’t in the room. So I went downstairs and that’s when I dialed 911.”
As he waited for police to arrive, he said security helped him search the beach. The couple’s two children, ages 13 and 8, were also with him during the search, West Hawaii Today reported.
Police are still investigating the incident and are asking anyone who was in the area Tuesday evening to contact Hawaii police detective Keith Simeona at 808-326-4646 ext. 281 or email Keith.Simeona@hawaiicounty.gov.