Body Recovered Along Puna Coastline Identified

The body found on December 5 along the Kalapana coastline in Puna has been identified.

On Friday, the Hawai`i Police Department reported that the victim was identified by dental records as 61 year-old Michael Clay Hughes who had no permanent address.

Officers responded to the Kalapana Gardens area after a hiker discovered a decomposing body in a remote location along the coastline on December 5. Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene, but due to darkness and limited accessibility to the area, patrol officers secured the scene until the following morning.

Detectives returned the next morning and recovered the body with assistance from the Hawai`i County Fire Department’s helicopter. During a daylight check of the scene and approximately 15 yards inland of the body, investigators discovered an area in the brush and recovered items with the victim’s name.

An autopsy has been completed and no foul play is suspected. The exact cause of death has been deferred pending the results of toxicology tests.

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or

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