Police confirm identity of murder victim as Lopaka Ryder - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Police confirm identity of murder victim as Lopaka Ryder

Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder
PUAKO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawai'i County police confirm human remains found in South Kohala on Monday have been identified through dental records as 37-year-old Robert Keawe Lopaka Ryder of Kailua-Kona, who had been reported missing. 

Known and loved by many as a traveling musician, Lopaka Ryder was often seen playing his ukulele and as he performed up and down the West Hawai'i coast.

Ryder hadn't been heard from since last Thanksgiving.  Family members reported him missing on January 17. 

Kona police sources say officers were led to Ryder's remains Monday by a man who confessed he was involved in a murder and could show them where the body was buried.

Officials confirm detectives recovered remains around 5:30 p.m. Monday in a vacant lot between Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway and Puako Beach Drive.

Police sources say the alleged accomplice claimed he was coerced into helping another man corner Ryder and later assisted in disposing Ryder's body.

During an autopsy conducted on Wednesday (March 12), the medical examiner determined Ryder's cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that the manner of death was homicide.

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are investigating the case as a murder.

Related Link:

EXCLUSIVE: Big Island police investigate South Kohala murder mystery

Big Island musician reported missing

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