KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - 46-year-old Moreira "Mo" Monsalve has been missing on Maui for nearly a month, and now the last person who saw her – ex-boyfriend Bernard Brown – is also gone. Maui Police questioned Brown and searched his car, but have not named him as a suspect.
Maui airport sources confirm with Hawaii News Now that Brown caught a flight from Kahului to San Jose on Monday afternoon.
Neighbors say he cleared out his Wailuku apartment after reportedly being evicted.
MauiWatch was the first to report Brown was spotted at the airport leaving the state.
"He was at the airport with all his bags and his cat and he was going to San Jose," described Alexis Felicilda, Monsalve's daughter by phone from Maui, who said she was shocked to learn the news.
"That first feeling was that kind of punch in the gut, sinking feeling. Are they really just going to let him leave and move away, when she's still not found and not all the questions are answered? It's hard," Felicilda said.
Legal experts say Brown is well within his rights to leave.
"In some respects it makes perfect sense, why make yourself a target? You've been identified as no longer a person of interest by the authorities investigating the missing person – so he took the opportunity to leave the state. There's nothing wrong with that," said defense attorney Myles Breiner.
Brown was the last person to be seen with Monsalve on January 12, 2014. Her purse and other items were later found in a dumpster, but there has been no sign or word from the mother of three since.
"Am I upset that they just kind of let him go? Yes, I am upset," said Felicilda. "I can't do anything about it. If the MPD feels that he isn't a suspect what can I do personally about it, you know?"
Breiner says Brown had filed a report with police that he was being threatened and was clearly facing a lot of scrutiny.
"Everyone is presumed innocent, that's really important. The fact that he's been recognized by the family as the last person to see her alive, the fact that he's the ex-boyfriend, that he's left the state – the tendency is to want to assume the worst case scenario that he must be the one. Wouldn't it be a sad day that someone else who really committed this crime gets a pass on this and someone else gets accused?" said Breiner.
Loved ones say they've canvassed much of Maui searching for Monsalve and are now considering hiring a private investigator, but in the meantime are pleading for the public's help.
"Somebody else has to know something and I don't know if they're too scared to talk, but we just need your help. We need to find out what happened to her," said Felicilda.
Hawaii News Now reached out to Brown several times for comment, but have not heard back.