Man allegedly stabs son, kills wife's unborn child
Big Island police are investigating a Puna man for allegedly stabbing his son to death and wounding his estranged wife, killing her unborn child.
The 38-year-old suspect, Tyrone Vesperas, remained in police custody at the Hilo cellblock yesterday, and is under investigation for second-degree murder of his 14-year-old son, Tyran Vesperas-Saniatan.
His 34-year-old estranged wife, Cheryl-Lynn Saniatan, underwent surgery late Monday night to patch up multiple stab wounds in her abdomen, as well as to remove the body of an unborn child that police said had been "due any day now."
Vesperas, a staff sergeant in the Hawaii Army National Guard, served with the 29th Brigade Combat team in Iraq from February 2005 to January 2006, said guard officials.
About 11:30 Monday morning, Puna patrol officers responded to a 911 call at a home on Paradise Drive in the Ainaloa subdivision.
Police found the woman with multiple stab wounds to her abdomen, and she was transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where she remains in stable condition.
"She was pregnant and lost the baby," said Big Island police Capt. Larry Weber. "She was almost full term."
The couple's son was found with a stab wound to his neck. He was transported to medical center, and died at 5:30 p.m.
The suspect also suffered a stab wound to his leg. However, only one knife was recovered at the home, police said.
Weber said it has not yet been determined what the nature of the struggle was. Police detectives were waiting for Saniatan to recover.
When asked whether the unborn child was the suspect's, Weber said that is under investigation.
Saniatan and her son had moved out of the suspect's home on Paradise Drive to live in Hilo, and were only visiting the suspect at the Ainaloa subdivision.
The suspect's backyard neighbor, Tennille Coutsourakis, and her husband said in the two years they have lived there they have heard the father and son playing football numerous times in the yard. She said the son appeared to visit regularly.
"Seemed like they had a good relationship," she said, adding they never heard arguing, but often heard laughter. "Sounded like a good dad playing in the yard with his son."
Neighbor Cathy Toresdahl believes the National Guardsman may have needed more counseling after returning from deployment to civilian life.
"These guys have been gone, had a gun in their hand all the time, and all of a sudden they gotta come home and be normal and get a job," she said. "Here that can be difficult as well.
"It's just a tragedy whenever you hear of a child losing their life for something like this," she said. "It just kind of puts a hush on your neighborhood."
Police have until this morning to charge the suspect or release him. The suspect has no previous criminal history in Hawaii.
Police ask anyone with information to call Detective Ian Lee Loy at 961-2381 or the Big Island department's nonemergency number at 935-3311.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.