Body identified as that
of missing Maili woman

A Maili family had searched for a missing 75-year-old woman in a nearby wooded area where her body was later found.

"It's just so sad that she was so close to home, and yet we couldn't find her," said Helen Sanpei, daughter of Helen Hun, who had been missing since Nov. 3 and whose body was found Saturday near her Maili home.

Using dental and surgical records, the city Medical Examiner's Office identified the badly decomposed body as Hun's.

"We were hopeful that we would find her alive, but we were thankful that we found her regardless," said Sanpei, Hun's namesake and eldest child.

"Otherwise, we'd be continuing to search for her, not knowing where she was," Sanpei said.

The family had searched the wooded area where she was found, but didn't think she would be there.

"We think she must have been disoriented and on the way to my grandparents' home," Sanpei said.

Hun had suffered from dementia for the past four or five years, and thought her parents who had lived in the Waianae area were still alive.

It was the first time Hun had ever wandered away, Sanpei said.

"I think her dementia was getting progressively worse, but we weren't aware of that," she said.

The Medical Examiner's Office has not yet released the cause of death nor the approximate time of death.

"I'm not sure if they'll ever find a cause of death," said police homicide Lt. Bill Kato. "There were no visible injuries and no broken bones or deep-tissue bruising."

Police are awaiting the results of further testing by the Medical Examiner's Office to determine whether to reclassify the case from a suspicious unattended death to an unattended death and end their investigation, Kato said.

Children playing in a brushy area near Paakea Road found the body in a shallow ditch Saturday less than a half-mile from Hun's home on Alapaki Street.

It was the same day Hun's family launched a massive search by 150 volunteers and police, including mounted police officers, along the Waianae Coast.

Family and friends had been combing the Waianae Coast since Hun was missing. Police had also searched the area, and used a helicopter Nov. 5 to do an aerial search.

Gilbert Hun was reluctant to speculate what happened to his wife of 56 years and mother of their four children.

"Heaven knows," he said. "You gotta ask God."


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