By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Police have found two badly decomposed bodies off Stainback Highway in Hilo and are investigating the circumstances surrounding the grisly discovery.
The first was found Friday, Jan. 18, at about 7:24 p.m. off the area known as “ATV Trail Park,” by officers conducting a search in the area for the body 44-year-old of Dante Peter Gilman of Hawaiian Acres. Gilman was initially reported as missing, but police say he was murdered in his home on Road 10 in late December.
The second was discovered Tuesday at abvout 5:18 a.m. off the “Tree Planting Road” after police received an anonymous tip.
Police Lt. Greg Esteban of the Hilo Criminal Investigations Section stopped short of calling the bodies homicide victims but said the circumstances are “suspicious.”
“Our investigators are actively working both cases in addition to finding the location of Gilman’s body. That case continues, as well,” Esteban said.
Esteban declined to say if police have made any preliminary identifications on the bodies. Asked if either body appears to be that of Gilman, he replied, “I’m not going to speculate on that right now.”
According to court documents, Gilman was shot to death by 30-year-old Claude Keone Krause of Kurtistown with a rifle. His 19-year-old cousin, Kawena K. Krause of Kurtistown, allegedly then choked Gilman until he was motionless.
The homicide was reportedly captured on Gilman’s home video surveillance system. The documents state that a third suspect, believed to be a minor, was also present.
Esteban said that a search warrant was executed and firearms were found. He added that police have not yet arrested a third suspect in the case, but “have identified a minor whose image appears in the video.”
“We will be contacting him for interviews in this case,” he said.
Both Krauses have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and various other charges, and are scheduled for preliminary hearings at 2 p.m. today in Hilo District Court.
An autopsy was performed Tuesday on the body found first, police said. Hilo Criminal Investigations Section detectives are awaiting additional examination and toxicology reports before releasing the exact cause of death.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday on the second set of remains. Police said in a written statement that they were unable to identify either body due to advanced decomposition.
“We’re currently working with the forensic odontologist comparing dental records for both subjects,” Esteban said. “… Right now, at this point, we’re investigating both cases independently, but we’ll be open minded to any possibility that they may be linked.”
Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.