Sunday, June 24, 2001

Judge agrees
shark killed
woman in 1999

The husband claims his
wife was killed at
sea off Lahaina

Associated Press

WAILUKU >> A judge has ordered a death certificate to be issued for a woman whose husband says was killed by a shark off Maui two years ago.

Circuit Judge Artemio Baxa said he's convinced Nahid Davoodabadi died at sea after a shark attack.

Davoodabadi and her husband, Manouchehr Monazzami-Taghadomi, of Sunnyvale, Calif., were honeymooning on Maui when she disappeared on March 18, 1999. Her husband said the two were kayaking off Lahaina when they were blown out to sea and capsized.

When Monazzami was rescued three days later on Kahoolawe, six miles southwest of Maui, the computer consultant said his wife had been killed by a shark and her body had disappeared in the ocean.

"It was so horrifying that I was thinking of just drowning myself instead of saving my life," Monazzami said Friday at a hearing on his request to have his wife declared dead.

The request was opposed by Extreme Sports Maui. Monazzami is suing the kayak rental company, claiming it failed to warn the couple about a small-craft advisory in effect when they were swept to sea.

Ann Aratani, an attorney for Extreme Sports Maui, said the five-year waiting period required by the state for death certificates in missing-persons cases should apply, as police are still investigating.

Maui County Deputy Corporation Counsel John Kim police are awaiting analysis of human hair found in the stomach of a tiger shark that was caught off Molokai.

Baxa said he found Monazzami to be a credible witness.

Monazzami's lawyer, Peter Schey, said his client still suffers from panic attacks and nightmares over the tragedy, making it hard to hold a steady job.

"There will never be any way for him to forget the incident he went through," Schey said. "He literally lived through a night and several days of extreme terror."

Monazzami and his wife were married in 1997 in Iran, and their trip to Maui was a delayed honeymoon.

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