HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department said a military man in his 30s was arrested for suspicion of murder after his 27-year-old wife was fatally stabbed on the H-3 Freeway.
The incident happened near the Kamehameha Highway off-ramp at around 6:17 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20.
Lt. Deena Thoemmes of the Honolulu Police said they began receiving 911 calls before 6:20 p.m. on Wednesday. According to HPD, witnesses observed a male suspect standing over a female victim and stabbing her multiple times.
Thoemmes said witnesses pulled over to try to help the woman and restrain the man, who managed to get away but was eventually arrested by police.
“The male reportedly used the same knife that he was in possession of at the time of his arrest and injured himself,” Thoemmes explained.
After police arrived at the scene and began searching the area, they were able to apprehend the suspect by 6:31 p.m.
According to Thoemmes they were arguing before he stabbed her multiple times causing fatal injuries.
The Honolulu Emergency Medical Services said two patients were treated for multiple apparent stab wounds and assault wounds. Both the victim and the suspect were taken to the nearest hospital, however, the victim was later pronounced dead.
HPD later said in a press conference that the suspect reportedly used the same knife that he was in possession of during the time of his arrest to injure himself.
“As part of our investigation, detectives will be reviewing past cases domestic violence cases that were documented as well as undocumented as well of social media posts that we have been made aware of,” said Thoemmes.
During the press conference, HPD revealed that the suspect was an active member of the military who was married to the victim. The couple was recently going through marital problems and were even arguing before the time of the fatal stabbing.
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Thoemmes said the suspect was taken to the hospital where he remains in custody. Charges are pending.
The victim was identified as Dana Alotaibi by her mother and sister. They said she had so much to live for and she was planning to move back home to be with her family.
“She was planning to move back to Virginia, have the baby, buy a house so she had plans,” said Nadin, Dana’s sister.
Cespedes said her sister and her husband, a marine stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii, were separated.
“She didn’t even live with him anymore; she was living in a different apartment,” said Nadin.
Despite all that, Cespedes said Alotaibi called their mother Wednesday just hours before she was killed, to say she was going to help her husband.
“My mom, she received a voice message 2 p.m. Virginia time,” Nadin explained. “She was saying that she’s going to help (him). He said he was telling her he didn’t have a place to live.”
That was the last time they heard from her until they got the call Thursday morning from the morgue telling them that she was gone.
Nadin said she still can’t believe her sister was murdered.
“It’s very hard for us to think that she’s not with us anymore,” said Nadin.
Alotaibi’s mother is devastated
“Its very hard for me to stay here without my baby my blood,” Natalia Cespedes said choking back tears. “I need to see my daughter.”
They said they are trying to fly to Hawaii to take her body back to Virginia.
Police said Alotaibi’s husband allegedly stabbed her multiple times on the H3 Freeway and that a number of drivers also pulled over to help.
Chaunessy Leopoldo and her boyfriend were some of the first people who stopped to help when another man waved them over.
“The female and the male was fighting in between the guard rail and the black sedan,” Leopoldo said.
“I was just shocked. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was panicking,” Leopoldo explained. “He had her like in a headlock … we thought he was punching her, but he was stabbing her.”
Leopoldo said another guy who was there tried to stop the suspect
“He tackled him from the back, I went to run to the truck, grab a rope. And then we tied his hands up and the girl got free,” Leopoldo said.
According to Leopoldo, it looked like Alotaibi and the man had been fighting for a while. She said she was already covered in blood and out of breath but Leopoldo tried to comfort her and told her to get back into her car.
“She told me no,” Leopoldo explained. “But she was trying to jump in our truck where I had my babies and I was like, ‘No, you gotta jump try jump in your car and lock yourself in the car.’ She didn’t want to and that’s when she started running more down the other way.”
She said Alotaibi didn’t get very far before the suspect got free and attacked her again, then stabbed himself and jumped over the guard rail to try and get away.
Leopoldo said the incident was traumatic for her whole family.
“It was crazy. It was chaotic. I don’t know. Just too much to — to really take in,” Leopoldo said.
Police have recovered the vehicle involved in the case as evidence.
HPD said the suspect has been charged with murder in the second degree. His bail is set at $1 million.
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“I do want to take this time to thank the public for their assistance and willingness to intervene — as the situation unfolded. Their efforts were instrumental in the apprehension and arrest of the suspect,” said Lt. Thoemmes.