Victim, missing man at Rainbow Falls identified

Big Island police are investigating the possible drowning of a 62-year-old woman and is searching for a 61-year-old man after they were swept down the Wailuku River.

At 12:39 p.m., Saturday, police and fire personnel responded to the Rainbow Falls State Park for a report of a couple who fell into the water while crossing the river above the falls.

The woman was found in the pool below the falls and was extricated by the fire department’s helicopter. She was then taken by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center where she later died at 4:25 p.m. She has been identified as Gladys Novinger of Spring Valley, California.

The missing man has not yet been located and search efforts were suspended as of Sunday afternoon due to dangerous conditions. His identity is being withheld pending notification of his next-of-kin.

However, 10news in San Diego says the missing man is Gladys Novinger’s husband George.  He is a retired diplomat for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service specializing in East Asian affairs.

Detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section are continuing the investigation into the woman’s death as an unattended death. An autopsy was conducted Monday morning, but the exact cause of her death is being deferred pending toxicology results.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Dean Uyetake of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2379 or