Fatal fall in Kona leaves California family searching for answers - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Fatal fall in Kona leaves California family searching for answers

Bill Seward Bill Seward
William Brill William Brill
Karen Celaya Karen Celaya
Rozalyn Mendence Rozalyn Mendence

By Duane Shimogawa bio | email

KAILUA-KONA, Big Island (HawaiiNewsNow) - A California family is mourning the death of their loved one who died Saturday after an apparent domestic dispute on The Big Island.

52-year-old Karen Celaya and 58-year-old William Brill, both of San Jose, were in an off and on relationship and at one time engaged.

They were here on vacation when something went wrong late Saturday evening in Kailua-Kona.

It began with a report from other hotel guests about a heated argument and then a fall.

But when police arrived at the Royal Kona Resort, little did they know the incident would turn into a murder investigation. Celaya had fallen from her second floor room and onto rocks below.

"You hope you wake up the next day and it's a dream and it's not a dream," Celaya's brother, Bill Seward said.

Big Island Police arrested Brill on suspicion of murder. This after they learned about reports of that heated argument between the two.

Celaya's family and friends say she and Brill had an on-again, off-again relationship the last four years and at one point were even planning to get married.

"There were problems before they went and we tried to talk her out of going," Celaya's best friend, Rozalyn Mendence said.

Celaya leaves behind a 30-year-old daughter and a 20-year-old son who she was very close to. She worked for AT&T in San Jose for more than 35 years.

"It's quite a shock," Seward said. "It's still quite a shock that I'm not going to be talking to my sister. Again, I talk to her on a daily basis, it still hasn't hit me."

An autopsy discovered that Celaya died from multiple traumatic injury due to a fall from a height.

Brill was released Monday evening pending further investigation.

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