Kendra Elizabeth Lewis' family said they were devastated by the news, but believed she was in a dangerous relationship.
26-year-old Steven Michael Wilson was charged with second degree murder in Kauai County on Tuesday.
Court documents show he admitted he stabbed Lewis to death on April 21st, after she tried to break up with him.
He told detectives he then repeatedly tried to kill himself.
Five days later Lewis' uncle found her decomposing body at Kawaihau Sports Villas in Kapaa where the two were staying at a condo.
In court documents, friends and aquaintances said Wilson was a drug dealer and user.
They said Kendra left her home state of Alaska to try and get a fresh start.
Lewis' uncle Nate Landry said Wilson went with her despite their severe warnings.
"(Her uncle) had (his) hands round his throat saying 'you're a piece of garbage. We really don't want you around her, but if you end up hurting her we're going to bury you.'"
Up until recently Lewis had been working at the Olympic Cafe in Kapaa.
Landry said Kendra was trying to clean up her life and reunite with her family.
Wilson's bail has been set at a $1 million.
Landry said the family is setting up a memorial in Alaska, but may hold one on Kauai as well.
They said the entire family has had a long connection to the islands with many of her relatives living or visiting Kauai throughout the years.