Kawaihae man charged in murder case of missing Kona man

By Clayton Wakida, KITV Digital Media Manager, KITV Digital Media Manager
Published On: Jun 12 2014 01:41:54 PM HST

Martin Frank Booth

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii -

A Kawaihae man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with human remains of a missing Kona man discovered in South Kohala in March, according to Big Island police.

On Monday, a Kona Grand Jury indicted 55-year-old Martin Frank Booth on one count of second-degree murder.  At 9:40 a.m. Thursday police arrested him at the Kona police station.

Detectives located the human remains March 10 on vacant land between Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway and Puako Beach Drive.  The remains were identified through dental records as 37-year-old Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder of Kailua-Kona, who had been reported missing.  His family reported on Jan. 17 that they had not heard from him since Thanksgiving 2013.

During an autopsy conducted on March 12, the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that the manner of death was homicide.

At that time, detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section reclassified the case to a murder.  During their investigation, they developed evidence linking Booth to the crime.

Booth has been incarcerated at Hawai'i Community Correctional Center since February pending trial on an assortment of charges, including meth trafficking and firearm offenses.  While in the custody of the Department of Public Safety, he was transported to the Kona police station Thursday morning on the arrest warrant for the Grand Jury indictment.

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