Friday, August 20, 1999

Missing tourists’
families due here

Authorities are searching
for two Danish women
missing since Saturday

By Jaymes K. Song


While authorities continued their Windward Oahu search today for two young Danish women who have been missing for almost a week, residents of their hometown thousands of miles away were praying for their safe return.

As of this morning, there have been no signs of Marianne Konnerup and Anitta Winther since they hiked into Kahana Valley State Park on Saturday.

Meanwhile, residents of the women's small hometown in Northern Judland, Denmark, are becoming more and more concerned.

"The women are from a small village of about 2,000 people in the countryside," said journalist Kjeld Christiansen of the Ekstra Bladet, a national newspaper based in Copenhagen. "Everyone knows each other and (is) trying to comfort the family. Everyone knew those girls since they were small babies."

The women's story has headlined every major newspaper, television station and radio in Denmark since their disappearance, Christiansen said.

Yesterday, officers from the police and fire departments and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources searched Kahana Valley and the Sacred Falls area with helicopters and dogs.

"We will continue to search for them," said Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue.

The women's families were expected to arrive in Honolulu today.

"We're meeting with the families to let them know what information we have," Donohue told reporters yesterday. "We don't have anything that suggests any foul play at this time."

Konnerup and Winther, both 21, were last seen Saturday right outside Kahana Valley, Donohue said.

But the names of the missing women were not on a Kahana Valley log book used by visitors to sign in and sign out, police said.

Hauula Fire Capt. Roger Dehay said most missing hikers are found immediately or the next morning.

Most hikers get lost when they get "caught by the dark" and can't find their way out, Dehay said.

Others get lost when they leave the trail.

Dehay described Kahana Valley hike as "rugged and longer" than Sacred Falls, where eight people were killed in a Mother's Day rockslide.

Kahana Valley has several trails and it is easy to get lost.

"When we went up, we scratched our head and had to find out where to go," he said.

Police have fielded 50 to 60 leads from the public about the missing women.

On Saturday, the women told their host family in Hawaii Kai that they were going hiking on the North Shore and would be back at about 6:30 p.m., Donohue said.

The women's bikes were left locked in parking spaces at Hawaii Kai Foodland, and it's thought they caught TheBus to go the windward side.

Detectives said the women have been staying with their host family since June 20.

They were planning to stay in Hawaii for three more months before traveling to Thailand, Fiji or Australia.

"If anyone sees these young ladies, please let us know," Donohue said.

Star-Bulletin writer Harold Morse contributed to this report.

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