The human remains found in South Kohala on Monday have been identified through dental records as 37-year-old Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder of Kailua-Kona, who had been reported missing, according to Big Island police.
Ryder’s family reported on Jan. 17 that they had not heard from him since Thanksgiving 2013.
During an autopsy conducted on Wednesday, the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that the manner of death was homicide.
Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are investigating the case as a murder.
Detectives located the human remains at approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday on vacant land between Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway and Puako Beach Drive.