Mother: Military spouse fatally stabbed on H-3 Freeway sought help for repeated abuse

HPD said Tejeda-Castillo has been charged for second-degree murder and his bail is set at $1 million.
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:43 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 9:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The woman who was brutally stabbed to death off the H-3 Freeway on Wednesday night has been officially identified by the medical examiner as 27-year-old Dana Alotaibi, of Virginia.

Alotaibi’s mother, Natalia Cespedes, said her daughter sent her pictures and messages documenting abuse from her husband, Bryant Tejeda-Castillo ― an active-duty Marine stationed in Kaneohe.

Had military officials acted on repeated requests for help, she believes her daughter would still be alive.

HPD confirmed that Tejeda-Castillo has been charged for second degree murder. His bail is set at $1 million.

Alotaibi posted several videos and messages on her social media accounts talking about her abusive relationship, claiming her husband hit her, pulled her hair, choked her, cheated on her and threatened to kill her.

A YouTube video posted in January shows Alotaibi sobbing on the phone with the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, claiming the military did nothing after she reported multiple cases of violence and infidelity.

“It’s haunting me, like, all the incidents that he’s hit me and done horrible things to me,” she tells the hotline responder. “Even when I reached out for help, like nothing was done at all. And I’m thinking like, what can I do, why is he so untouchable?”

“Why isn’t he getting jail time? Why isn’t he getting demoted in rank? Why isn’t he getting kicked out?” she said on the call.

Alotaibi’s mother said she advised her daughter to report Tejeda-Castillo to his command and police.

“She sent me like a picture with all these bruises all over her body,” Cespedes said, adding that Alotaibi was brave to speak out.

She said Alotaibi was able to get a no contact order on her husband, the military’s version of a restraining order. But Cespedes says she’s disappointed more wasn’t done to protect her.

“Probably because she’s woman they don’t care or she looked like crazy, they don’t care,” Cespedes said.

Now that her daughter is gone, Cespedes is feeling the same helplessness as she tries to get answers from the military about what happened

“I feel like nobody wants to help, nobody wants to say nothing,” she said. “Probably if I go there, they will help,”

Cespedes says she’s flying from Virginia to Honolulu on Saturday.

“I cannot stay here and waiting. I had to go there. Bringing my daughter home,” she said.

The Marines issued the following statement:

“We can confirm that the Marine suspect’s command was engaged with both him and the victim, and were responsive to those allegations and concerns that the command was made aware of. Due to the ongoing nature of the criminal investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this topic.”

Alotaibi’s friends who are in the military believe the system is designed to protect the ranks, and domestic violence and mental health issues are downplayed. They spoke to HNN on condition of anonymity.

“I don’t think they care about family at all. Because if they did, then they will be getting their soldiers the help that they need,” one friend said.

“It seemed like he was crying out for help, too. And I just think their mission first and then family second.”

Loved ones and victims’ advocates hope Alotaibi’s death can be a wake-up call to urge victims to reach out to civilian resources as well as the military system.

“You’re still one of our community members. And we care about them just as it’s not like there’s a bubble, that that’s all that they have,” said psychologist Dr. Lisa Hartwell, who has counseled military families.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii said it offers the Marine Corps Family Advocacy Program, “which aims at directly addressing domestic violence through prevention, education, reporting, intervention and treatment.”

Alotaibi’s mother has set up a GoFundMe page for funeral and travel expenses. To donate Alotaibi’s family, click here.

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