Saturday, July 21, 2001

Margaret Hauanio, 16, of Mililani was killed
Nov. 17, 1975, on her way home from Leeward
Community College. Her killer has never been
found, but her mother hopes the recent breakthrough
in another 1975 murder case may help her daughter's.

Breakthrough in
Bustamente murder
raises hope for
another unsolved case

The mother of a Mililani girl
killed in 1975 hopes for
a break in the case

By Rod Antone

The mother of a teenage Mililani girl who was killed the same year as Dawn "Dede" Bustamente says she hopes the arrest of a suspect in that case earlier this week will lead to a break in the unsolved murder of her daughter.

"Oh, I am joyful at the news that they've found somebody," said Margaret Matthews, mother of 16-year-old Margaret Hauanio, who was killed on Nov. 17, 1975.

On Tuesday, police arrested Delmar J. Edmonds in Indiana and charged him with the murder of 13-year-old Bustamente on March 14, 1975. Edmonds is fighting extradition to Hawaii.

"I'm joyful for the family, and I hope it jogs the memory of someone out there about Margie's murder," said Matthews, 70, in a telephone interview with the Star-Bulletin.

"Somebody knows something, and I want them to let it out," she said.

Such was the case with Michael Ryback, a former Kaneohe Marine who contacted Honolulu police last year with information about the Bustamente case that "has bothered him for the last 25 years," according to an HPD affidavit.

Ryback told police that he remembered that Edmonds, a fellow Marine, came into the barracks one March night in 1975 and told other Marines to "cover for him" and that if anyone asked about his whereabouts, "tell them he was at barracks all night."

The next day, Ryback read newspapers reports about the Bustamente murder, and Ryback stated that the silver or chrome-colored pearl handle revolver described in the articles he read matched a handgun that he said Edmonds kept in his foot locker. Ryback's statements lead to more interviews with other former Marines, and Edmonds was arrested on Tuesday.

While Matthews is happy for Bustamente's family, the news brings back the anger and haunting memories of a daughter who went to college early to become a doctor for disabled children.

Margaret Hauanio of Mililani had turned 16 just 11 days before she was found with her skull fractured, her hands and mouth taped and a small rope around her neck. Hauanio was an early-admissions student at Leeward Community College, and had called her sister the night before to say she had just finished studying and was on her way home.

"She was a difficult teenager, wonderful, outgoing and a composer of poetry and music," Matthews said. "I don't remember what our last words were; I think I said something that morning like, 'See you later.'"

The next time Matthews saw her daughter, it was a black-and-white police photo of her body.

"When I saw her stretched out on a pile of dirt, she just looked like she was sleeping," Matthews said. "But police said she had been tied up in such a way that if she moved her legs, the rope would choke her neck.

"It was a horrible death."

Police theorize that she had been picked up by acquaintances or forced into a passing car as she walked along a dark road from the college to the bus stop.

In the Bustamente case, a girl who was with Bustamente on the night of March 14, 1976, said a black male in a white Plymouth Valiant stopped them as they were walking on Kawailoa Road in Kailua, brandished a firearm and ordered them into his car. Bustamente was raped and shot in the head.

Matthews asked not to have her location identified because she does not want her daughter's killer to know where she lives. "I want him to wonder where I am, and whether or not I am close by."

She said she hopes that former Marines are not the only ones with a conscience.

"I want to ask people out there, do you remember someone saying something? Seeing something?" Matthews said. "Couldn't they come forward and give us a clue? We're waiting for a clue.

"I know there won't be any closure or relief unless the proper person is put in jail or put to death."

Matthews is the mother of three other children, including a son who was killed in a 1988 by a drunken driver. She is the grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of three, and said every one of those children know about Margie, how she was killed and how no murderer was found.

She hopes that she will be able to tell them a different ending one day.

"A peer of Margie's said to me at her funeral, 'It's OK; she's just somewhere else in time,'" Matthews said. "That's the one thing that sustained me."

"We go through torment many, many times about this, knowing that no one has been prosecuted yet. I think of my daughter every day, and sometimes I still break down and cry."

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