Suspect’s cousin speaks out on Big Island woman’s murder

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Full of life, even after her death. That’s how Smriti Saxena is being remembered.

“She was a very nice and kind person. She loved going outside, she loved to dance She had her performances,” said Garvit Gupta.

So, it came as a shock to Garvit Gupta to find out that such of a beautiful life could have been stolen, and that his own cousin, Sonam Saxena, her husband was arrested for murder.

“Nobody expected something like this to happen. It’s a total shock for everyone,” said Gupta.

Just hours after Smriti was reported missing on Tuesday, Big Island police say they recovered her body near Anaehoomalu Bay. Shortly after that Sonam was arrested. However, today he was released from custody pending investigation. Police say they made the decision after conferring with prosecutors.

“Its very sad and stressful, and with what my cousin and both of their daughters are going through, it’s just a very stressful situation right now,” said Gupta.

He said Sonam and Smriti have been married for 17 years. They got married in Delhi, India then moved to the United States.

He tells KHON the family often comes to Hawaii for vacation to celebrate their daughter’s birthday.

“They like to go out, and they like to explore and travel,” said Gupta.

Gupta said he has spoken to his cousin Sonam since he was released from police. He said Sonam was “still shocked”.

KHON inquired on Gupta’s thoughts on his cousin still being investigated as a suspect in this case.

“They had a very healthy relationship, and both of them loved each other a lot. They have two kids, and something like this to be done by my cousin is impossible,” said Gupta.

KHON has tried to reach out to Sonam, but hasn’t heard back.

“Everyone is trying to be strong. A lot of things still need to be figured out. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can,” said Gupta.

Police say while as autopsy was done, further testing is needed to determine exactly how Smriti died. Police say they are also following up on additional leads.

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