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Saturday, October 30, 2004



Deaths in Ewa Beach
home blaze deemed
murder/suicide

Autopsy results show an Ewa man and woman died last week in a murder/suicide, according to officials from the Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office.

Medical examiner officials identified the victims as Lino T. Vaivao, 55, and his girlfriend Brenda Mathias, 56.

Vaivao and Mathias' bodies were burned beyond recognition when they were found in the front bedroom of Mathias' home at 91-1340 Hoopio St. on Oct. 19 after flames tore through the structure, leaving only the garage standing.

Autopsy results show that Vaivao died of "thermal injuries" due to the house fire and that his death was listed as suicide. For Mathias, however, medical examiner officials said her cause of death was a homicide due to both a "blunt head trauma" and "thermal injuries."

Medical examiner officials did not say whether Mathias was alive or already dead when the fire occurred.

Fire investigators had said that the fire had been intentionally set and that an ignitable liquid had been poured throughout the home.

"It was in every room," said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Emmit Kane.

Sources close to the investigation said the couple was having domestic problems and that Mathias had wanted Vaivao out of the house.

Vaivao's relatives had said the couple had been together for 10 to 11 years.

Mathias was the co-executive director of Kokua Kalihi Valley, a community health care center. Vaivao was a retired soldier and Gulf War veteran who worked as a security guard at Schofield Barracks.

Mathias had three daughters in their 20s living here and a son in Canada. Vaivao was the 12th of 15 children and had three daughters of his own -- ages 25, 22 and 17 -- and grandchildren.

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