In Brief | Big Island 8-3-13


Human remains found on Mauna Kea

Police recovered skeletal remains Friday near the top of Mauna Kea following their discovery by hikers earlier this week.

Capt. Robert Wagner said the remains, which included bones and some clothing, were found at about the 12,000-foot level in a remote area and appeared to be less than 10 years old.

They were reported to police Tuesday.

There were no obvious signs of foul play and police did not find any pieces of identification, he said.

The skeleton was more than 50 percent complete, Wagner said. Police have not concluded whether it is male or female.

Investigators will follow up on reports of missing persons on the mountain, Wagner said.

That includes the case of Brian Murphy, he said.

Murphy, of Plymouth, Mich., went missing on the mountain in 2007 after telling an employee at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station he planned to hike the steep Humuula Trail from the station to Lake Waiau, at 13,030 feet.

A search for Murphy, who as 67 at the time, came up empty-handed.

He was last seen wearing a light windbreaker and khaki shorts.

Wagner said the clothing recovered appeared to be a jacket and shirt.

An “artificial piece” was recovered in the bones, he said.

Wagner said dental records or X-rays could be used to identify the remains.

Honomu man charged in connection with attempted robberies

Police charged a 37-year-old man in connection with two attempted robberies.

The attempted robberies occurred Wednesday in Hilo, at a gas station and a recycling center.

Friday, Kris Villasista, of Honomu, was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and two counts of attempted robbery. His bail was set at $110,000.

He is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday.

HELCO warns of telephone scam

Hawaii Electric Light Co. issued a warning Friday about a telephone scam that may affect business customers on Hawaii Island.

Customers reported receiving telephone calls from a caller who claimed to be a Hawaii Electric Light Co. representative. The customers were directed to pay their utility bill at a store using a service called “Money Pak.” The caller also directed the customers to not make payments at the utility’s customer service office.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. encourages customers to call its customer service office if they receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to represent the company.

Employees will not call and request a credit card number or direct customers to submit payment via other options. Details are available on the back of the billing statement, officials said.

Tractor reported stolen in Hilo

Police are investigating the June theft of a tractor stolen in Hilo.

Sometime between 7:30 p.m. June 27 and 5:30 a.m. June 28, a John Deere six-wheel Gator 6×4 with black seats was removed from a private road off Kaiwiki Road in the Wainaku area of Hilo, police said. It was valued at more than $4,000.

Police ask anyone with information about this case or the location of the tractor to call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All information is kept confidential.