Man Not Giving Up Search For Masumi Watanabe's Body - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Man Not Giving Up Search For Masumi Watanabe's Body

By Minna Sugimoto

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Even though Kirk Lankford's trial is over, one man's search for Masumi Watanabe's body continues. The creator of the findmasumi.org website says Monday's guilty verdict is just the first step.

The home page now has the outcome of the murder trial, and a message of thanks to the hard-working jury.

"These jurors, you know, they really put aside their family and their life for these past six, seven weeks," Bob Iinuma, website creator, said. "And they've been under tremendous stress and sacrifice."

Bob Iinuma never knew Masumi Watanabe. But the mortgage broker sat in court every day of the month-long trial, watching the defendant testify and listening to the evidence.

"This young lady, Masumi, she captured my heart," he said. "And I wanted to do whatever I can to help her and her family."

With permission from the victim's parents, he created the findmasumi.org site last year. It includes a biography of the shy 21-year-old, a map of areas searched, and a condolence album.

"I've been moved and motivated by the concerns of all the people who visited the website," Iinuma said.

He says he's happy about Monday's verdict, but the game isn't over.

"First quarter was putting Lankford away," he said. "Second quarter would be to find Masumi. Third quarter is to find out what happened."

He says the fourth quarter is making sure this never happens again.

"You know, he needs to be put away," Iinuma said about the convicted murderer. "For the safety of Hawaii, he should not be on the streets."

Iinuma plans to keep up the website, and says he's hopeful the victim's remains will be located.

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