Sonam Saxena Washington State Google product manager charged w/ murder of missing Microsoft business program manager wife, Smriti Saxena, while on Hawaii family vacation.
*** Feb 23 Update: Hawaii Island police arrested and then released a Google Cloud project manager this week after his wife was found dead along the Anaehoomalu Bay shoreline early Wednesday morning.
Sonam Saxena, 43, of Bellevue, WA was arrested on one count of murder in the second-degree Wednesday after Hawaii Island police found a female body believed to be Saxena’s wife, Smriti Saxena, 41, in the district of South Kohala near ʻAnaehoʻ omalu Bay, Big Island Now reports. The discovery follows the couple having gone on a trip with their two children.
Smriti had been reported as a missing person and was last seen on Tuesday evening, after purportedly having gone for a late night stroll on a secluded beach south of Anaehoomalu Bay, police said.
An autopsy will determine the woman’s cause of death.
While police declined to release the identity of the body that was found – they did say it was located in the general area where Sonam reported his wife as missing.
Washington State Google product manager professes love for missing wife:
Prior to his arrest, Sonam professed his love for his wife and pleaded for the public’s help in locating the mother of his two children, West Hawaii Today reported.
Sonam said he last saw Smriti on the shoreline of ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay when he returned to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort where they had been staying to get her asthma inhaler.
Saxena told investigators on the evening of his wife’s disappearance, the couple had drinks at the Lava Lava Beach Club and then taking a 20-minute walk to a remote beach, where Smriti had an asthma attack. Saxena said he went back to their hotel for her inhaler, returning 40 to 50 minutes later.
‘She got an asthma attack right there on the beach, and she was feeling weak, and she didn’t want to walk all the way back because it’s almost a 20-minute walk back from that beach to our room,’ he said. ‘So, I said, ‘hey, you know what? You stay here, you have your phone with you and I’ll just go to the room grab your inhaler and pump and come back.’’
He said that they had enjoyed drinks and a 20-minute walk before that.
‘She got an asthma attack right there on the beach and she was feeling weak and she didn’t want to walk all the way back because it’s almost a 20-minute walk back from that beach to our room,’ said Sonam, who, according to a LinkedIn profile works as a product manager for Google Cloud.
‘So, I said, ‘hey, you know what? You stay here, you have your phone with you and I’ll just go to the room grab your inhaler and pump and come back,’ Sonam told West Hawaii Today.
He added that he ‘went to the room, picked up the inhaler, came back, and she was missing.’
Sonam then said that he went back to the hotel room in search of his wife, who worked as a business program manager for Microsoft.
Autopsy deemed inconclusive, Google product manager husband released:
On Friday, police confirmed the body was that of Smriti Saxena and said that an autopsy had been inconclusive, needing further testing was necessary to confirm the cause of death. Subsequently, they released Sonam Saxena just 10 minutes before the expiration of a 48-hour period to formally file charges, West Hawaii Today said.
‘After conferring with prosecutors, Sonam Saxena was released pending investigation,’ Hawaii Police said in a statement. ‘Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation.’
Harvard-educated Sonam Saxena, 43, reported his wife Smriti missing on Tuesday claiming the 41-year-old mother-of-two had vanished during a late night stroll on a secluded beach south of Anaehoomalu Bay, in South Kohala.
— Cody Granrud (@12BravoGran) February 20, 2020
Mystery murder motive:
‘I was disturbed because why would she leave her purse and her phone on the beach and head back to the room? It just seemed really odd,’ Sonam told the news outlet. ‘So I rushed back to the room. I checked the room and I saw that she wasn’t in the room. So I went downstairs and that’s when I dialed 911.’
Sonam said that when the police arrived, he helped them search the beach.
‘We called out for her, but there was nothing,’ he said. ‘No response.’
The couple has been married for 17 years and have two children, ages 13 and 8, with the couple traveling to Hawaii every year to celebrate their oldest child’s birthday.
Sonam told the news outlet that during the search for his wife his children were with him.
It remained unclear how police came to link the Google product manager to the death of his wife and what may have motivated Soxana in killing her.