A week before her slaying, victim escaped to safehouse


POSTED: Thursday, March 19, 2009

A week before she died, Royal Kaukani fled to a safe house after her ex-boyfriend allegedly assaulted her with a knife.

“;She didn't want to endanger her family,”; said neighbor Lara Fergueson.

;[Preview]  Family & Friends Remember Royal Kaukani

Loved ones remembered Royal Kaukani as a caring person that had a bright future ahead of her.

Watch  ]


A makeshift memorial sprouted up yesterday at the site where Kaukani, 25, was gunned down Tuesday in Ewa Beach. A collage of photos of Kaukani yesterday carried the words, “;We Love U Royal.”;

The third youngest of seven sisters, Kaukani lived with family members at a Kaukolu Place home for about three years.

She was genuinely nice, a pleasant person, said Fergueson.

“;For some reason, she thought she could save the world,”; the family said in a statement yesterday. “;She believed every broken thing could be fixed, somehow, someway.”;

Kaukani, who graduated with honors from Waianae High School in 2001, was an accomplished volleyball player and a loving person who lived life to the fullest, her family said.

“;Royal's radiant smile brightened anyone's day and always walked so tall and proud,”; the family statement said. “;There was always such an amazing presence when she came around ...

...”;She has touched everyone in our family's heart to an extent that cannot be replaced. She will be forever missed and never forgotten.”;

Court records describe a tumultuous, two-year relationship between Kaukani and her ex-boyfriend, Toi Nofoa, who remained in police custody yesterday as a person of interest in the case.

She filed two temporary restraining orders against Nofoa for allegedly assaulting her on several occasions.

In June, documents show, Kaukani and Nofoa had an argument when Nofoa threw a TV remote controller at her, nearly missing her head. He then threw her across a room onto a bed.

“;He punched my face, gave me bloody nose/lip,”; she wrote in a petition for a protective order. “;He dragged me, broke my phone, took my car. Police were called.”;

In September, Nofoa allegedly kidnapped Kaukani by gunpoint after she was done at work as a concierge at the Ko Olina Beach Club. Kaukani was able to flee with the help of a gas station attendant in Haleiwa.

She received a temporary restraining order in December. But in January, it appeared the two briefly reunited when Kaukani requested to dissolve the restraining order.

A circuit judge denied the request and ordered Nofoa to attend domestic violence intervention classes or anger management.

In August 2006, records show, another protective order was obtained by an ex-girlfriend who claimed Nofoa threatened her family and showed up at her house unexpectedly.

“;He has a bad anger problem and (is) very jealous. (He) will not accept the fact that we are broken up,”; she said.

Given Nofoa's history, Fergueson said she was puzzled as to why authorities could not enforce a bench warrant for his arrest issued two weeks ago.

“;I don't get it,”; she said. “;It's mind-boggling.”;

The cause of Kaukani's death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Medical Examiner's Office. The manner of death was classified as a homicide.