Punahou St. murder victim remembered at memorial service - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Punahou St. murder victim remembered at memorial service

San Juan's sisters San Juan's sisters
Jim Simon Jim Simon
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -


Nearly two weeks after Mary Beth San Juan was found dead in front of her Punahou Street home, her family and friends gathered to pay their respects Saturday night.

With her vivid paintings on display and music she wrote playing in the background at a memorial service in Nuuanu, San Juan's loved ones celebrated her life in the way and with the people she would've wanted there.

"I think she affected lives just by walking down the street and smiling at people because that's who she was," said Ann Engebretson, San Juan's older sister. "She was friends with the people at the grocery store that checked her out. She was friends with the homeless person down the street. There was nobody that wasn't a friend if they wanted to be a friend."

Before learning of San Juan's death, both of her sisters were planning on vacationing on Oahu this week. 

Instead, they're having to say goodbye.

"I'm going to miss her voice," said Jill Myers, San Juan's younger sister, as she fought back tears. "I'm going to miss her eyes and her hugs. We were really lucky to have her for our sister."

Vernon Baker has been charged with San Juan's murder and earlier this week, the 41-year-old pleaded not guilty.

Baker is an acquaintance of San Juan's, but investigators and friends are still trying to figure out what led to her death.

"She was very special," said Jim Simon, who met San Juan in an acting class. "She just had that gift.  I mean, there are people here that met her once and they're here because that's the kind of person that she was."

Meanwhile, the memorial in front of San Juan's home continues to grow.

Her sisters want more people to bring flowers to cover up the ugliness that took place there.

It's part of a fitting sendoff for someone that brought life and grace to those around her.


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