Police have found two badly decomposed bodies off Stainback Highway in Hilo and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the grisly discovery.
The first was found Friday at about 7:24 p.m. off the area known as “ATV Trail Park” by officers conducting a search in the area for the body of 44-year-old Dante Peter Gilman of Hawaiian Acres, who was initially reported as missing; police now say he was murdered in his home on Road 10 in late December.
The second was discovered Tuesday at about 5:18 a.m. off “Tree Planting Road” after police received an anonymous tip.
Police Lt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section stopped short of calling the bodies homicide victims, but said the circumstances are “suspicious.”
Esteban declined to say if police have made any preliminary identifications on the bodies. Asked if either body appears to be that of Gilman, he replied, “I’m not going to speculate on that right now.”
According to court documents, Gilman was shot with a rifle by 30-year-old Claude Keone Krause of Kurtistown. His 19-year-old cousin, Kawena K. Krause of Kurtistown, allegedly then choked Gilman until he was motionless. The homicide was reportedly captured on Gilman’s home video surveillance system. The documents state that a third suspect, believed to be a minor, was also present.
Esteban said police executed a search warrant and found firearms. He added that police have not yet arrested a third suspect in the case, but “have identified a minor whose image appears in the video.”
“We will be contacting him for interviews in this case,” he said.
Both Krauses have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and various other charges, and are scheduled for preliminary hearings at 2 p.m. today in Hilo District Court.
An autopsy was performed Tuesday on the first found body, police said. Hilo Criminal Investigations Section detectives are awaiting additional examination and toxicology reports before releasing the cause of death.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday on the second set of remains. Police said in a written statement that they were unable to identify either body due to advanced decomposition.
“We’re currently working with the forensic odontologist comparing dental records for both subjects,” Esteban said. “Right now, at this point, we’re investigating both cases independently, but we’ll be open-minded to any possibility that they may be linked.”
Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.