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Woman left in dark about spouse's death


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POSTED: Monday, August 31, 2009

The widow of a tourist wants to know why he was killed after being accused of stealing beer. For one thing, she says, he didn't drink.

California resident Humberto Murillo loved to travel, and came to Honolulu to celebrate his birthday with his wife and three children.

At about 8 p.m. July 6, the eve of his birthday, Murillo was in good spirits and told his wife that he was going out for a walk.

“;He was happy,”; said his wife, Sabrina Medina, 32, by telephone from their San Fernando, Calif., home. “;He was there for his birthday. He was going to be 34.”;

Murillo never returned.

At about 5 a.m. she received a phone call at their hotel room informing her that her husband was dead and that she needed to identify him at the Medical Examiner's Office.

Medina had to take her children—daughter Krystal, 12, son Christian, 11, and daughter Alissa, 8—with her to the city morgue.

According to police, Murillo walked into the ABC Store at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa and, without a word, walked out with a couple of cold packs of beer.

The store manager chased after the culprit, found Murillo on the hotel's second floor and demanded a receipt, police said.

According to police, Murillo began assaulting the 29-year-old manager, who called for help.

A 20-year-old visitor helped subdue Murillo, police said. In the scuffle, cans of beer rolled across the floor.

The two held Murillo down as they waited for police, but by the time officers arrived he was unconscious. Hotel security personnel performed pulmonary resuscitation, and paramedics took Murillo to Straub Clinic & Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police initially classified the case as an unattended death and a robbery, and made no arrests.

Last week the Medical Examiner's Office publicly said that Murillo's death was a homicide by mechanical asphyxiation—that is, he had been held down while lying on his stomach, and his breathing was restricted.

After the ruling, police began conferring with the city prosecutor's office on whether there is probable cause to charge someone with murder. A spokeswoman for the Police Department said police would not comment further on the case because of the continuing investigation.

Medina, meanwhile, learned from the media that her husband's case had been reclassified.

“;I did know that before, that it was a homicide,”; Medina said. “;But they (police) initially told me that they weren't going to do anything about it.”;

She said what her husband is accused of is so unlike him.

“;He didn't even drink,”; she said. “;I just don't understand a lot of it.”;

“;There's so many things that I see on the Internet,”; she said, including “;a lot of conflicting stories”; about what occurred that night.

Despite regular calls, Medina said, she has received no information from the medical examiner.

The Medical Examiner's Office said it is not its policy to contact next of kin when it has made a determination on cause of death.

The 33-year-old construction worker, originally from Virginia, enjoyed traveling, and the couple owned a time share in Florida and another in Virginia.

She said it has been hard for her three children to lose their father.

Medina said they are receiving “;a lot of family help,”; including assistance from her parents and his parents.

The couple would have celebrated their wedding anniversary today.