EXCLUSIVE: Hilo double murder victims identified by family

EXCLUSIVE: Hilo double murder victims identified by family
Victims Elaine Ahu and her daughter, Rhonda Ahu.
Victims Elaine Ahu and her daughter, Rhonda Ahu.
Rhonda's boyfriend, the suspected murderer, 34-year-old Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto.
Rhonda's boyfriend, the suspected murderer, 34-year-old Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto.

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hilo man has been charged with one count of first degree murder, two counts of second degree murder, and firearms charges after being suspected of killing his girlfriend and her mother.

Hilo police haven't officially released their names, but they've been identified by a niece as Elaine Ahu and her daughter, Rhonda Ahu.

According to family members, Elaine Ahu just celebrated her 74th birthday earlier this month. She shared the home on Leilani Street with her 45-year-old daughter Rhonda, Rhonda's two kids and Rhonda's boyfriend – the suspected murderer 34-year-old Sean Ivan Masa Matsumoto.

"He shot them in their head," said Kayla Flores, who lives in another house on the same property as her Aunts, Elaine and Rhonda Ahu.

Flores knew Matsumoto well and spoke with him several times the day of the shooting. According to Flores, Matsumoto called for an ambulance that morning.

"He said when he went to the hospital they found cocaine and heroin in his system, but he says he doesn't know why because he smoked meth," said Flores.

Flores says he was back at the Waiakea Houselots home by 2 p.m. and started an argument with Rhonda, his girlfriend of about 7 years.

"The last thing I heard him say was: 'Tyler is not my son.' And she said:  'He is your son Sean.' And then I just told her you're going to have a long night," described Flores, recalling the last thing she heard from the couple before she told them goodnight.

Flores says she jumped out of bed at the sound of the first gunshot.

"Between 11 and 11:30—I was in my room. I heard the gunshot and then I ran out to my door then I heard the second gunshot, then I was going up the steps to wake up my mom there was the third gunshot," said Flores. "So I woke up my Mom. I told her there's gunshots next door, I think he's killing them."

Flores says they tried calling the house, but the line was busy—so they called Rhonda's 15-year-old daughter, but she didn't pick up.

"My little cousin texted my Mom back HELP, so my mom called 9-1-1," said Flores. "Then my 15 year old cousin runs over here screaming that he shot my mom and my nana."

According to Flores, Rhonda and Matsumoto's 6-year-old son was in the room when Elaine was killed.

"He was in the room when he shot his Nana. He was sleeping," said Flores.

Family members were aware Matsumoto had a gun. Flores says she warned Rhonda to get rid of it the morning of the shooting.

"We were looking out of my kitchen window and we seen him right here looking at our house with his gun in his hand," said Flores, describing how she, her cousin and her Mom hid in their house waiting for police to arrive at the scene.

Autopsies on both victims are scheduled for Friday to determine the exact cause of death.

Police ask that anyone with information on this case to call Detective Ernest Matsumoto at 961-2379 or email at ematsumoto@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Joel Field at 961-2381 or email at jfield@co.hawaii.hi.us Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn't record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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