Police seek help to solve decades-old murder of McKinley High School student

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Sixteen-year-old Dawn Momohara was found murdered at McKinley High School in 1977.

The Honolulu Police Department say reports indicate she was sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

Former McKinley High School students recall the day after it happened.

“It was a school day and it happened the night before,” said Susie Chun Oakland, a former student. “A teacher had found her and it was early in the morning, second floor of the English building.”

“I think all of us [were] really shocked.”

Susie Chun Oakland, Former McKinley High School Student

Susie Chun Oakland said she was a freshman at the time. She said it was all people could talk about for days, partly because the killer was never found.

“It was a crime scene. It wasn’t something natural,” said Oakland. “McKinley never had that kind of incident before, so I think everyone was quite afraid.”

Police have released sketches of a person of interest and possible suspect in the case. They’ve also released a possible suspect vehicle which is a 1974 or 1975 Pontiac Lemans with louvered rear windows, a maroon bottom and white vinyl top.

“What HPD is doing in terms of still trying to find who had killed her, I think for the family and for the community is important,” said Oakland.

She said the incident has stuck with her all this time and she hopes the killer is found one day.

“Just for that to happen was very unusual and very tragic, and it just shouldn’t have happened to a young life,” said Oakland.

For more information on this and other cold cases, you can visit the HPD’s website.

If the man in the sketch or the vehicle look familiar, you can call Crimestoppers at 955-8300. You can also e-mail HPD at this link.

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