Hawaii’s Unsolved Murders: Who killed Sean Burgado?

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HILO (KHON2) – Hawaii Island Police are renewing requests for information that can lead to an arrest in an unsolved murder case from 1997. 

On May 19, 1997, Sean Burgado finished his evening shift as a dietary aide at the Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center, a nursing home located in Hilo. 

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It was the last time the 27-year-old man was seen alive. 

Sean Burgado was 27-years-old when he killed inside his home on Malaai Road in the upper Waiakea Uka area on the Big Island.

Sean did not show up to his next scheduled shift. Concerned, a supervisor asked Sean’s neighbor to check on him. 

What the neighbor found was horrifying. 

On May 21 at about 5:25 p.m., police were called to the 200 block of Malaai Road in the upper Waiakea Uka area. 

Sean’s body was found inside his home. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds. An autopsy ruled his death a homicide. 

But lack of evidence and witnesses have left the case unsolved for 24 years. 

“When we refer to these cases as ‘unsolved cases,’ in some of these, we have people that we consider a possible suspect,” explained Lieutenant Rio Amon-Wilkins with the Hawaii Police Department. “But we may not enough evidence to send it for prosecution.”

“It’s always difficult when witnesses don’t come forward, or they refuse to provide statements,” said Detective Derek Morimoto. “We need those statements from witnesses in order to build the case.” 

“We want to get justice for the victims and families in these cases,” added Amon-Wilkins. 

Justice has been at the forefront of Karrie King’s life for the last 24 years. 

“Sometimes I feel like giving up,” said King. “I feel like I’ve had enough already. But in my heart, I just can’t. I can’t give up on my brother.” 

Karrie was 18 when her brother was murdered in 1997. Now in her 40s, she’s a mother of two. 

“Juggling everything with life, I never put Sean on the back burner,” she said. “I always made that phone call every month to every single detective every month for 24 years straight.” 

Reflecting on her brother’s personality, she said, “He wouldn’t want me doing this. It’s just unsettling. It’s very unsettling to know somebody knows something.” 

If you have information that can help Hawaii Island Police, email unsolvedhomicides@hawaiicounty.gov

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