Investigators arrived at 1038 Lunalilo Home Road yesterday where an early morning fire killed three people: a woman, 40, and her two daughters, ages 7 and 4.

No sign of foul play
in fatal Hawaii Kai fire

A mother and her two girls
were found dead on the floor
of the master bedroom


Wednesday, March 24, 2003

>> Jo Anna Miranda, 40, and her daughters Jasmine, 7, and Chanell, 3, were found dead in their Hawaii Kai home Monday following a fire. In a Page A1 article in yesterday's early edition, Jo Anna's first name was misspelled as Joanna; a photo caption incorrectly said Chanell was 4; and the first name of neighbor Dr. Feung Lee was misspelled as Faung in a Page A6 photo caption.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Honolulu police homicide detectives are investigating the deaths of a 40-year-old Hawaii Kai woman and her two daughters in an early morning fire yesterday.


Family members and neighbors identified the adult victim as Joanna Miranda, and the two girls as Jasmine, 7, and Chanell, 3.

Police said firefighters found the mother and the girls lying together next to a twin mattress on the floor of the master bedroom at 1038 Lunalilo Home Road. Fire officials said the smoke was so thick that firefighters at first did not know there were bodies in the room.

"But as soon as they put the fire out and vented the room, that's when they found them," said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Emmit Kane.

Neighbors were first alerted to the dawn fire by passing jogger Sophie Hara, who said she "banged and banged" on doors when she saw brown smoke coming from the house.

Kane said when firefighters arrived, they had to break into the house via a sliding glass door in the back, then had to force their way into the master bedroom because it was locked. Firefighters also smashed open jalousie windows to ventilate the room.

Landlord Roger Ede said he began renting out the home to the Mirandas on Dec. 1, and described them as a "very nice family" and "good tenants."

"What happened here is a tragedy," said Ede. "Our hearts go out to the family and the friends of the family."

Neighbors, including children on spring break, watched as the three bodies, wrapped in two blue plastic bundles, were removed from the home shortly before noon.

"I saw brown smoke pour out that window," said neighbor Sherri Rigg, but added that she thought the Mirandas were on a spring break trip.

"You really relate to it," Rigg said of the deaths, "especially a mother with daughters."

A stacked rack of shoes stood at the front door of the Lunalilo Home Road house where a woman and her two daughters were found dead yesterday.

Fire investigators determined that the fire began on a queen-size bed in the room where the bodies were found. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Fire officials said it appeared the family slept in one room and that there were no other beds in the other bedrooms of the three-bedroom home. Fire officials said they did not know if Miranda was a smoker, but that there were no ashtrays inside the home.

Medical investigator Charles Iona said there were no obvious wounds to the bodies and that autopsies will be performed tomorrow.

Police Lt. Kathy Ferreira labeled the fire "suspicious" yesterday morning. However, later in the day, homicide Lt. David Kamai said investigators had turned up nothing to indicate foul play.

The case was classified as an "unattended death" last night by police investigators.

Police said Wendell Miranda, Joanna's husband and the girls' father, was at work when the fire broke out about 6:37 a.m. Police questioned Miranda, a stevedore, at a relative's home as part of their routine investigation.

A neighbor, Dr. Faung Lee, below, sat in the garage answering questions from police and reporters.

Investigators with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also inspected the home and conducted various tests, including whether accelerants were used in the fire.

The Mirandas' previous address was in Palolo Valley where they lived with Joanne's parents along Vanda Place.

As part of their investigation, police are looking into an October missing-person's report that Wendell Miranda filed on his wife. The report was never assigned to a detective because it was resolved quickly, according to police.

Fire officials said the fire was extinguished within 13 minutes of it first being reported to 911. The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to the home and its contents.

Star-Bulletin reporter Rod Antone contributed to this article.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --