A Manoa man and his wife
are charged in the case of
a missing Kaneohe man
Honolulu police charged a 38-year-old Manoa man yesterday with the murder of a friend who had been missing since Friday night.
A police affidavit says that Gregory Awana, an investigator for the city medical examiner's office, confessed to killing 28-year-old Yorck K. Woita and then disposing of his body in Kaneohe over the weekend.
Police also arrested Awana's wife, Jody, 35, and charged her with hindering prosecution by allegedly helping her husband clean up after the murder.
A source close to the investigation said Awana was also involved in a marijuana growing operation possibly worth millions of dollars.
Police described Awana and Woita as friends who were involved in an argument witnessed by two of Woita's other friends Friday evening in Kailua.
"There was an argument between them that escalated into physical violence and at that point Yorck was murdered," said homicide Lt. Bill Kato. "There may be more suspects."
Police have not found Woita's body, but they were searching the shoreline around Kaneohe yesterday.
Woita was last seen arguing with Awana while driving his stepbrother's yellow sports utility vehicle near the Kailua Shopping Center on Friday night, police said.
Woita had rented a room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for the weekend with some friends, and when he failed to return to the hotel room Friday, he was reported missing.
According to a court affidavit, two witnesses told police that they left the hotel with Woita about 3 p.m. on Friday because Woita had asked them to "watch his back" while he met with Awana. The witnesses followed Woita to Kailua where he met Awana, then followed both men to Awana's home at 2356 Oahu Ave.
The witnesses said they called Woita on his cell phone to see if he was OK. During one phone call the witnesses said Woita confirmed Awana had a gun.
According to the affidavit, the last contact with Woita was at 7:30 p.m. An hour and a half later, the SUV was found on fire near 41-679 Mokulama St. in Waimanalo.
Based on witness statements police set up a surveillance at Awana's house in Manoa, according to the affidavit. On Sunday, police spotted Awana and his wife loading several garbage bags into a truck and then followed him to a dumpsite at the Kapaa Transit Station.
Police said they witnessed Awana dumping several garbage bags of marijuana plants along with a box containing what appeared to be blood-stained cement blocks and towels.
Police arrested Awana and his wife for commercial promotion of marijuana in the second degree. Police arrested Awana again yesterday for suspicion of second-degree murder and his wife for hindering prosecution. Gregory Awana is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and Jody Awana is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
A source close to the investigation said the plants recovered in the garbage bags originated from the Awana's home.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this report.