Dozens Attend Funeral for Masumi Watanabe - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Dozens Attend Funeral for Masumi Watanabe

Mayor Mufi Hanneman Mayor Mufi Hanneman

By Diane Ako & Taires Hiranaka

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Music fills the air at Kawaihao Church, at the funeral for Masumi Watanabe, the 21 year old Japanese national killed last year in Pupukea. Reverend Curt Kekuna called it "a remembrance and a celebration."

Many came to say goodbye. like her family from Japan, state prosecutor Peter Carlisle who is trying the case, and Honolulu police officers. Reverend Kekuna continued, "It's amazing to look across this room and see all the faces here. There are folks I know well and folks I don't. And I suspect it's the same for Masumi Watanabe."

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann gave his condolences. "What makes this a tragic situation is we can't bring closure and identify the person or people responsible, and most importantly we haven't been able to identify the body of Masumi."

Masumi's father Hideichi Watanabe offered a tearful eulogy, and a sad story about these paper cranes. "Our friends folded 1,000 cranes hoping she'd come home safely. My best friend initiated it. He asked for her friends to finish the project because he was seriously ill and died 4 months later without seeing Masumi again. During this short period I lost two of the most important people in my life. I feel such great sadness and regret."

This is the first time Masumi's entire family has come to Hawaii to honor her life on Oahu. There is a website, findmasumi.org, dedicated to the search for her body.

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