Hawaii Unsolved Murders



Hawaii has always intrigued me.

I have been fortunate to have visited Oahu twice – when I was 9 and 15 and it was beautiful. I especially loved the night markets and the friendliness of people. I’d like to return to Hawaii for a holiday now that I am an adult.

Of course, there are the television shows that have been set in Hawaii – Magnum PI and one I loved (but didn’t last long) The Byrds of Paradise.


But for all the beauty and seeming casualness of Hawaiian life, there is a dark side to the island life and that’s most evident in the unsolved murders that police are still actively trying to solve.

I was intrigued by a more than decade-old article by the Honlolulu Advertiser about unsolved murders from the 1970s and 1980s.

It appears that a serial killer was active in 1985-1986 as there are five cases of women murdered in Honolulu. The killer has been dubbed The Honolulu Strangler and has not been caught. The victims were aged from 17 to 36.

There is also the horror case of eight-year-old Roiti Dias (below) who was kidnapped while walking to school on May 27, 1980, and later found dead with her throat slashed. No one has ever been arrested for her murder.

Another girl, Jiezhao Li, 12, was last seen on Feb. 11, 1988, selling fundraiser tickets near a 7-Eleven store in a Honolulu suburb called Nuuanu. She is still missing.

These unsolved crimes haunt detectives.

And a recent report on the Kauai cold case unit to say that they have not forgotten victims and investigators are actively working with the island’s prosecution office to crack these cases.

– The 1981 gunshot slayings of Californians John Klein, 28 and his wife Michelle, 25 who were vacationing on Kauai. Their bodies were found on a tourist trail and had been shot seven times.

Their murders unsettled tourists and was a set back to state officials and locals, who were trying to reassure people that Hawaii was safe to visit after some other high-profile instances of attacks visitors. There had been a gang rape of a Finnish woman, 23, by a gang of local teenagers in 1979, which attracted national coverage and condemnation over the shoddy handling of rape cases by the State.

One theory for the murders of the Kleins is that the couple – he a lawyer and she a publicist – stumbled across a marijuana crop. An Associated Press article from January 3, 1982 called “Marijuana Blight: Hawaii Paradise Threatened by Hidden Cultivation” reported that six months after the couple’s death, police harvested almost a tonne of weed within a mile of where their bodies were discovered.

Information on these cases and more can be found on the website of the Kaua’i Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.

Anyone reading this blog who has information that could solve any of these homicides should contact Honolulu Crime Stoppers or the Kauai County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney at 808-241-1888 or via email: coldcase@kauai.gov

  1. Id like to suggest to hawaiii to process rape kits from 1985-86 maybe they can keep the manoa rapist behind bars legally

  2. My beloved uncle Dean Ray Pires was murdered and his body dumped on Pali Road in November of 1991. It was as if he was forgotten. I have not forgotten! Was it because he was a gay man and no one cares? I care! He was a good man. He was loved. I will never forget!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Kandy. Sorry about your uncle. Was his murder ever solved?

  3. My mother was killed in an apparent robbery in December of 1985. Terry Lea Foxx, but used her married name of Shimizu. Never solved, another lady was killed in the robbery as well. Both women were stabbed to death, but the Police never had anything to go on. Its a cold case now and will never be solved is my guess.

    1. Tim I am so sorry. Emily. No unsolved to this day.

      1. At this point my grandmother passed away in 2006. My 2 aunts and 1 uncle are left. My brother and sister and I would rather move on. Never forget but forgive what happened. We’re pretty sure we have our thoughts on who and if that’s true he died a long time ago. But thank you

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