The Hawai`i Police Department has initiated a homicide investigation after a body was discovered on Sunday morning in a vehicle on the side of the roadway in Kalapana in the Puna District.
Shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, Puna Patrol officers responded to the Kalapana area after receiving a report of a deceased body within a parked vehicle on the shoulder of the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road (Route 130) in Kalapana.
Police located the vehicle, a white Ford Mustang, with the male victim’s body inside.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene and are continuing this investigation which is classified as a second-degree murder.
The victim was transported to the Hilo Medical Center and was pronounced dead at 11:15 a.m.
Authorities say the victim has been positively identified as 49-year-old Lance Toshio Shitabata of Hilo.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine the exact cause of death.
Police are asking for anyone with information on this incident or who may have been in the area of the Keaʻau-Pāhoa Road in Kalapana on the evening of October 24 or early morning of October 25, to contact Detective Clarence Davies at (808) 961-2384 or email Clarence.Davies@hawaiicounty.gov.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.