HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mary Guo was dedicated to helping others.
The 31-year-old was a registered nurse at Palolo Chinese Home and a graduate research assistant at the University of Hawaii.
She worked with Dr. Victoria Fan, a UH associate professor, who described Guo as full of energy and excitement for medical research.
“She was one of my longest student employees,” said Fan. “Her death is such a huge loss, not just to everyone in our lab, but to everyone who knew her. She will be very much missed by everyone.”
Guo was found dead in a Makiki apartment Sunday, and police say she had been stabbed multiple times. Dustin Saluda, 35, told responding Honolulu police officers that she was his fiancee.
Court documents show he was holding a knife when HPD arrived.
Saluda made his first court appearance Wednesday via teleconference from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. He was limping and holding his stomach.
Bail was confirmed at $1 million.
Saluda had been in trouble before, and was declared insane by the courts after setting fire to a condo unit in 2013. Records show he waited as the unit and said he’d harm responding firefighters.
Saluda was sent to the State Hospital in Kaneohe and other mental health facilities. But in December 2018, a Circuit Court judge released him without restrictions.
“We strenuously objected saying, no he’s a violent individual, given his past history, we do not want him unsupervised,” said Scott Spallina, deputy prosecutor at the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.
Spallina worked the Saluda case and said just weeks ago, Saluda paid him a visit “to warn me about somebody wanting to do harm to me.” Spallina said he notified the office investigations unit but because Saluda is unrestricted, there wasn’t any other recourse.
“Because he was not homicidal or suicidal at that time, he was a free citizen like you or I.”
Saluda is charged with second-degree murder.
Guo’s friends struggle to understand why anyone would hurt her.
“Just a wonderful personality,” said Fan, “Always cheerful, never a complaint, never a negative word.”
The Palolo Chinese Home described Guo as kind, thoughtful and loved by everyone.
A statement from the home reads:
“Mary was in the process of completing her doctorate of nursing Practice at the University of Hawaii. She was the recipient of a Hawaii Hospital Education and Research Foundation’s coveted scholarship. Mary’s vision was to become a family nurse practitioner, someone who listened, encouraged, and supported people to achieve their highest state of physical, mental, and emotional health.”
Loved ones started a GoFundMe page for Guo’s family.