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StarBulletin.com

Suspect charged in tourist's death


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POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

A 31-year-old man who was released from prison a day before the nude body of 25-year-old tourist was found in Waikiki was charged yesterday with the woman's murder.

Aaron Michael Susa is being held on $500,000 bail, accused of second-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Bryanna Antone of New Mexico. He is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow morning.

Antone's body was found by a jogger Oct. 2 at Waikiki Beach just before dawn. The next day police announced they were looking for Susa because he was seen leaving the Ohana Waikiki West Hotel with Antone about four hours before her body was found.

Antone, who turned 25 on Sept. 21, was celebrating her birthday in Honolulu as her mother attended the American Dental Association convention.

Antone's family members returned home Wednesday, the day a memorial Mass was held in Honolulu for Antone.

On Friday, a funeral for Antone was held in her hometown of Rio Rancho, N.M. Nearly 400 people attended, said her cousin 33-year-old Adrian King. He said the family remains focused on healing and didn't comment on the murder investigation.

“;We're still kind of going through the grieving process,”; he said from New Mexico yesterday.

King said he spent a lot of time with Antone as she grew up and recalled taking her on camping trips in Colorado. She also often took care of her nieces and nephews, he said.

“;If I was down, she would pick me up,”; King said. “;Really, she was a people person. She had the greatest laugh.”;

Antone wanted to work in the film industry and co-directed a short film, friends told the Albuquerque Journal.

Family members told the paper that Antone met Susa at a luau. King didn't know how they met.

Police found Susa hiding in bushes in Makiki Monday, took him to the hospital for an illness, then arrested him following his release Thursday.

The Journal reported last week that Susa's father, Michael Susa, said his son grew up in Missouri. Susa came to Hawaii in 2005 for a vacation with his girlfriend. He said he never saw his son again and wondered if he was still alive.

Aaron Susa was adopted at age 3 and struggled as a youth, his father said. He had a drug problem and was a drifter, he said.

“;We did everything we could to salvage him,”; Michael Susa told the Journal. “;We felt very bad about Aaron.”;

Susa had been in jail in Hawaii seven times since 2006 for probation violations for methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia possession. He was released from jail the day before Antone's body was found on the beach.

The city medical examiner has not released the cause of her death.