05-01-20 Puna murder investigation

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Criminal Investigation Section, Area I
Lieutenant Rio S. Amon-Wilkins
Phone: (808) 961-2252
Report No. 20-033752

Media Release

Hawaiʻi Island Police have arrested a 61-year-old Keaʻau man in connection with the death of an elderly female at a residence in Hawaiian Paradise Park.

The suspect has been identified as Robert Dean Merrill.

Today (May 1) shortly before 9:00 a.m., Puna Patrol officers responded to a residence on 15th Avenue. Arriving officers contacted Merrill outside of the residence and they were directed to a bedroom in the residence, where they discovered the unresponsive victim with severe injuries to her head and facial areas.

At 9:45 a.m. Merrill was arrested at the scene and transported to the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation that has been classified as second-degree murder.

The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center where the victim was pronounced dead at 12:39 pm. An autopsy was performed this afternoon and the pathologist concluded that the victim died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, face, and neck. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

The identity of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification and notification of next of kin. 

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or WendallCarter@hawaiicounty.gov or the Hawaiʻi

Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.


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