Double murder update No. 3 07-18-06

PHONE: 326-4646, EXT. 304
JULY 18, 2006
REPORT NO. C06021898


An autopsy performed Monday (July 17, 2006) at Kona Community Hospital confirmed that two women who were deliberately run off the road Sunday died of injuries from the auto crash.

Pua Lei Santa Isabel, 26, sustained injuries to her head and neck, trauma to her chest and abdomen, and multiple rib fractures. According to the forensic pathologist, she probably died instantly at the scene.

Casey Ann Swain, 35, had severe head trauma and a fracture to her right leg. She died at the scene from those injuries.

The crash occurred shortly after an occupant in a 1987 Honda reported being struck from behind by a pickup truck at 12:11 a.m. Sunday. The caller said both vehicles were traveling north on Highway 190 around the 23-mile marker and heading toward Waimea. A few minutes later, police received a report of the crash at the 16-mile marker near the South Kohala boundary.

Police found the extensively damaged Honda off the mauka shoulder of the road and a silver 1998 Dodge Dakota pickup truck on the makai shoulder.

Investigation revealed that an unknown motorist heading toward Kona stopped at the scene to offer assistance. A second motorist, heading toward Waimea, stopped and drove a third occupant of the Honda, a 19-year-old woman, to North Hawaii Community Hospital.

Police are trying to locate both Good Samaritans. Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Detective Mark Haggerty at 326-4646, ext. 277 or the non-emergency telephone number at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

The crash is not being counted as traffic fatality statistics because it was intentionally caused by the driver of the pickup truck, 41-year-old Vernon Costa of Puna.

Costa was arrested Monday afternoon for one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder. He has not been charged. He remains in police custody pending completion of the investigation and a charging decision.

# # #

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Keep your community safe through Crime Stoppers

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

    The Crime Stoppers TV Program is available on-demand from Nā Leo TV.