Maui police arrest 3 in connection with body found wrapped in plastic

Maui hunters discovered the victim’s body on July 5 in a remote trail off Keanuhea Street in Kula.
Published: Jul. 16, 2023 at 10:54 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 28, 2023 at 4:32 AM HST
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WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui police have arrested three people in connection with a body found wrapped in plastic in a remote area of Kula in early July.

Police initially arrested 58-year-old John Joseph Smith, 40-year-old Carl Rackley and Stacy Marie Smith, 48, for second-degree murder.

However, prosecutors declined to charge Stacie Marie Smith and Carl Rackley. John Joseph Smith was the only one charged.

Maui hunters discovered the victim’s body on July 5 in a remote trail off Keanuhea Street in Kula.

The victim was identified as 36-year-old Jonathan Awai, of Makawao.

Jonathan Awai
Jonathan Awai(Kathy Sayre)

Police were later able to track down the John Joseph Smith and Stacy Marie Smith in Kahului and arrested them.

John Smith pleaded not guilty in his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.

“John Joseph Smith took my son’s life away by shooting him in the chest and discarding his body like he was nothing. But let me tell you right now, that boy was something. He was something! He was a good boy. He loved his family. He loved his daughter,” said Awai’s mother Kathy Sayre.

Kathy said her son was living with the Smiths, but she doesn’t know what led up to his murder.

“Shame on you as you a human being for what you did to my son!’” Kathy said. “He did not deserve this ... to have something like this happen is so awful ... to wrap him in plastic like he was some kind of animal you know, it’s just terrible.”

Kathy said she has some comfort knowing her son Jonathan has been reunited with his brother Matthew who died six years ago.

“I know you fought. I know you were terrified to the bitter end, and I know you thought about all of us until the moment they took your life,” she said. “I know you’re in heaven with your brother ... I love you so much.”

John Joseph Smith’s bail was kept at $500,000. He was due back in court on Wednesday.

Anyone with further information is asked to call (808) 244-6425 or Maui Crime Stoppers at (808) 242-6966.

This story may be updated.