Friday, June 18, 1999

Cops deem woman a
‘missing person’

By Gary T. Kubota


WAILUKU -- A Maui police investigation into the death of a California woman reportedly killed by a shark is to remain classified as a "missing person" case indefinitely, police said.

"We just don't close it because they haven't appeared," said acting police Lt. Joseph Higgins. "We'll hold it indefinitely until we have some evidence to prove she's alive or somehow she's deceased."

More than 90 days after Nahid Davoodabai, 29, was said to have been fatally mauled by a shark, no new evidence has arisen about her disappearance, according to Maui police.

Higgins said no trace of the body has been found, despite an extensive air and land search of areas on and near Kahoolawe, where her husband called for help on March 21.

Manouchehr Monazzami-Taghadomi said he and his wife came to Maui on a belated honeymoon and were kayaking off Lahaina when the wind carried them away from shore and his wife was attacked at night by a shark.

He said his wife lost an arm in the March 18 attack and died on the kayak. He lost her body when a wave struck them, he said.

Monazzami said he drifted on the kayak to Kahoolawe, where he eventually found a bunker with a telephone and called authorities.

Davoodabai joins a list of more than 32 people who have been classified as missing persons in Maui County, including windsurfer Takayuki Okamura, a visitor from Japan who disappeared July 10, 1996.

Acting police Lt. Robert Fernandez said someone may be listed as a missing person if they are suspected by a relative to have been last seen on Maui.

"A lot of time there's no verification the person even was here," he said.

He said quite often, a missing person doesn't want to be found.

State law allows a person who has been continuously absent for five years, and whose absence cannot be explained after a diligent search, to be declared dead for civil purposes.

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