HONOLULU (KHON2) — In late February, Mohammad Daudie, Ronald Wu and their friend met up in Hawaii to see the island attractions, meet new people and have a good time.
Little did they know they would be hanging out with the murder suspect in the death of 73-year-old Gary Ruby whose home is located in one of the most expensive and exclusive subdivisions on Oahu.
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What started off as a vacation soon turned into a nightmare for Daudie and Wu’s friend who decided to stay behind with 23-year-old Juan Tejedor Baron. Their friend was arrested in Inglewood, California, and released less than 24 hours later after police determined he had no involvement in the Hawaii Loa Ridge murder case.
On March 9, Baron was arrested in Anaheim, California, by U.S. Marshals and Los Angeles police in connection with the murder of the Hawaii Loa Ridge resident whose body was found in his own bathtub, filled with concrete and a layer of coffee grounds on the surface.
According to court documents, Baron admitted to Los Angeles police that he committed the murder and tried to cover it up. Baron is charged with one count of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree theft and one count of first-degree identity theft. Extradition is pending.
“He seems very lonely. It almost seems like he’s desperate for company,” said Wu, who landed on Oahu on Friday, Feb. 25. His friend Daudie landed just a couple days before.
After arriving, Wu recalls going straight to their Waikiki hotel to meet his friend Daudie. They then headed to a nightclub in Honolulu where they spent the evening drinking, dancing and having fun. It’s also where the Bay Area visitors met Baron for the first time.
As the night was ending, Daudie remembers Baron offering to give them a ride back to the hotel. He was hesitant at first because they already had an Uber coming, but when Baron asked again, they agreed to go.
“After 2 a.m., after the club, he approached me twice to ride in his car in an Audi (owned by the victim), and he said he owns it,” said Daudie, “and I was like, ‘Oh, really? This is a very luxury car.'”
On Saturday, Daudie and Wu met up with Baron for brunch before separating. The pair spent the day scuba diving for the first time while Baron went home. Later that day, Daudie and Wu’s friend landed from Boston. The pair introduced their friend to Baron at dinner before heading out to the same nightclub.
“Then they click and they talk and that’s it,” said Daudie. “They became like instant close friends.”
On Sunday, the group of friends invited Baron to go on an all-day booked tour of the island.
“During the entire trip, I was observing he gets upset easily, like he has an attitude… He has a short temper a little bit,” Daudie recalled.
After the tour ended, the group went with Baron to the Hawaii Loa Ridge home so he could shower and change clothes. They were only there for 30 minutes.
Daudie remembers Baron being on the phone earlier with his mom and told the group she was at the house, but when they arrived, she wasn’t there. Daudie recalls Baron saying that his mom had just left with her boyfriend and that they were also on vacation.
“When we entered the house, it’s really quiet, very serene, and there’s no one there. There’s no pictures of the family,” said Daudie.
“I walked in there, and there was this really nice kitchen and living room,” Wu added. “There’s this really nice balcony that was overlooking the ocean. I just remember it was really quiet.”
Editor’s Note: Daudie and Wu’s friend did not give his consent to have his photo shown, so his face has been blurred. Since he was released from custody, his name is also not being used.
Though police described the scent of coffee when they entered the residence, Wu said they didn’t smell anything strange when they were there. But what they did find strange was part of the house being blocked off by what they describe as a pet gate — and there were no animals to be seen.
During the tour of the house, the pair of friends recall Baron taking them straight to the kitchen, then to the balcony. The entry to the area to get to the bedrooms was blocked off by the gate. As they waited in the living room, Daudie said in the back of his mind he always doubted Baron owned the house.
He remembers Baron saying he has a car company in Hawaii and Texas.
“For some reason I was not believing that,” said Daudie, “because there’s something like reserved, a feeling like attitude that he has, I believe he’s hiding.”
He added that Baron said he was in Hawaii for more than a month and that he was still pretty new.
After the tour of the house, the group went to dinner and different bars before going back to the hotel. Daudie said all of a sudden Baron was not in a good mood and left with their friend for a short period before they came back with drinks and snacks.
“I remember we were trying to look for a bar to go to — we went to multiple bars — but there’s not much of a nightlife in Hawaii,” Wu added. “So we just went to the beach next to the hotel.”
When the night was over, Daudie and Wu stayed at the hotel, while their friend left with Baron.
On Monday, Baron and their friend came back to the hotel to have brunch before their departure flight. Daudie remembers his friend asking, “Hey, can Juan come with us in San Francisco?”
Daudie declined and suggested his friend stay another week with Baron instead.
“And thank God because I would be arrested too. You know, I would be in trouble,” said Daudie.
As their flight got closer, he said Baron asked him and Wu a second time to stay longer, but they both ended up leaving. One week later, police were at the Hawaii Loa Ridge home doing a welfare check on Ruby.
“There’s always like doubt in me that I cannot trust this person,” Daudie said. “That’s why I didn’t plan to stay longer too. I could have stayed longer, but I didn’t feel like it.”
Despite what happened, Daudie and Wu shared that they still had a great time in Hawaii, going scuba diving for the first time, swimming near a waterfall and dancing the night away at what has become one of their favorite bars and nightclubs.
They plan to return later this year and hopefully find better company next time.
Below is the timeline of events revealed in court documents:
MONDAY, MARCH 7: Police do welfare check on Gary Ruby
On March 7 at around 10:46 a.m., Honolulu police officers received a call from the victim’s brother to do a welfare check on Ruby whom he hadn’t heard from in three weeks.
According to police, Ruby last contacted his brother via email about meeting a new love interest by the name of Baron whom he described as significantly younger than him. Ruby was 73. Baron is 23.
At around 11 a.m., a police officer and security guard arrived at the residence, which is located within the gated community of Hawaii Loa Ridge and is valued over $1 million, according to the City.
When they arrived, a 34-year-old man (Daudie and Wu’s friend) was exiting the front door. The officer asked the man if he knew Ruby to which he responded that his friend — later identified as Baron — inside the home may know him. A short time later, Baron exited the residence and said that he bought the home from Ruby about five years ago.
The security guard corrected him that Ruby just bought the property in 2020. According to court documents, Baron then changed his story to say that he bought the home two years ago and had the deed for it. The security guard told Baron and his friend to register with the main office to show proof.
The two men then left the property in a gold 2020 Audi A6, court documents said. After checking the license plate, officers found that the vehicle was registered to Baron. Later checks revealed that the vehicle was transferred from Ruby’s name to Baron’s name on Feb. 7, 2022.
According to court documents, the officer then met with the operations manager of the Hawaii Loa Ridge community who said Baron arrived at the main office to register as the new owner of the residence. Baron allegedly emailed him the deed and filled out the registration forms. That email came from Ruby’s documented email address, which contained the deed paperwork with no notary nor signature on it.
The operations manager added that when Baron tried to register, he provided the name of Yenisel Guerra as also being an owner of the residence. After checking the phone number Baron provided, it was revealed that it belonged to the 24 Hour Fitness in Hawaii Kai. Police later confirmed Baron was never employed there.
TUESDAY, MARCH 8: Police find bathtub filled with concrete and coffee grounds
On March 8, at around 1 p.m., the medical examiner chief investigator, forensic anthropologist and evidence specialist entered the home after police said a bathtub in the master bathroom was filled with a concrete-plaster substance with a layer of coffee grounds on the surface.
Through the excavation process, they discovered that there were two layers of coffee grounds. Several insects were also discovered and later taken for analysis.
After removing the concrete substance, Ruby’s body was discovered at the bottom of the bathtub. The manner of death was determined to be a homicide.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9: Baron is arrested in California
On March 9, U.S. Marshals and the Los Angeles police arrested Baron on a Greyhound bus in Anaheim, California, that was bound for Mexico. Baron was found hiding in a crawl space under an enclosed bench at the rear of the bus. After he was detained, Baron waived his constitutional right to remain silent.
Then he talked.
Court documents detailed how Baron admitted to the detectives how he gave the Honolulu police false statements. He also told the detectives that he was dating Ruby. According to the interview, Baron said he became angry after Ruby admitted to being HIV positive.
Court documents revealed the following:
“Baron stated that soon after, he noticed Gary choked on food, and Baron reacted by placing a belt around Gary’s neck and tightening the belt until Gary lost consciousness. Baron then dragged Gary to the bathtub and used a kitchen knife to slit Gary’s wrists in an effort to stage a suicide.”
Baron told detectives that he found bags of concrete in Ruby’s garage and filled the bathtub with concrete to cover him. He then drove to Lowe’s to buy four more bags of concrete to fill the tub. As an effort to conceal the smell of decomposition, Baron said he used coffee grounds to cover the cement.
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Court documents said that at the end of the interview, Baron admitted that he planned on fraudulently acquiring Ruby’s home and 2020 Audi. He further admitted that he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles, forged the Audi ownership papers and fraudulently obtained a title to the 2020 Audi.
Baron remains in custody and is scheduled to be extradited back to Hawaii in April.