KAILUA-KONA, HAWAI’I ISLAND (KHON) – Hawai’i Island Police are renewing calls for anyone with information that can solve the 1973 murder of Gayle Hook.
Hook was a 21-year-old woman from Washington state at the time of her death. In 1972, investigators say she followed friends to the Big Island. The plan was to temporarily call Hawai’i home.
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But Gayle Hook never made it back to Seattle.
On March 29, 1973, Gayle told her roommates she was going to the beach. Without a car, Gayle was known to hitch-hike, a common occurance in the 1970’s.
That was the last day Gayle was seen alive.
“Some high school kids happened to be hanging out in the area that day, checking out the Kahikolu Church,,” said Hawai’i Island Police Detective Carrie Akina, who took over the case in 2021. “It’s a scenic area. They discovered Gayle’s body in a back room of a pavilion. The church was abandoned at the time.”
Gayle was found with a bullet wound to the head.
Investigators believe the crime happened elsewhere, before the killer dumped her body at the Kahikolu Church near Kealakekua Bay.
To this day, no one has been charged in Gayle’s murder.
“She was very badly beaten. She was raped,” said Gayle’s younger sister, Marilyn Hook.
Marilyn was 19 at the time of her sister’s murder. She is now 69 years old and resides in Seattle, Washington.
Recalling the moment the family learned of the murder, Marilyn said “It was my mom’s birthday. The day the phone rang, it just destroyed Mom. It absolutely destroyed her. It changed our lives completely.”
Her older sister’s case went cold, but the pain still burns in Marilyn’s heart.
“I don’t know who did it.” she said. “It could have even been a friend. We just don’t know. For me, it’s changed my life in every way. I was very angry for a few years. Very, very angry. And now I’m just sad.”
Gayle’s best friend Toni Pulikas has grown close to Marilyn in the decades since Gayle’s untimely death.
“Gayle’s father is now 96 years old,” said Pulikas. “Her mother died before anything could happen. For the sake of her father… we would like to know, why somebody did that to her? An innocent person?”
Akina says evidence taken from the scene of the 1973 crime will be re-tested using new DNA technology.
In the meantime, she hopes anyone with information on what happened to Gayle Hook will finally talk.
“They’d probably be in their 70s, 80s or late 60s at this time,” said Akina.
“Gayle didn’t deserve this. She was just starting out in life. She had her whole life ahead of her. She never had the opportunity to have children, get married. To travel further. Her life was cut short. I think it’s our responsibility to act and speak out if we know anything. I’d like to take this time too, if anyone had any similar type of experience back then, hitch hiking in the Kealakekua area, to reach out. Because it could have some bearing in this investigation.”
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If you have information that can help Big Island Police find out who killed Gayle Hook, email firstname.lastname@example.org.