Punahou St. homicide victim was Honolulu realtor, actress

Punahou St. homicide victim was Honolulu realtor, actress: Ben's report
Published: Jul. 24, 2013 at 2:44 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM HST
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Mary Beth San Juan
Mary Beth San Juan

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu detectives are investigating the murder of a woman whose body was found bound, gagged and wrapped in a carpet.

The grisly discovery was made Tuesday evening at a building on the 1200 block of Punahou Street.

Family members confirm the victim is Mary Beth San Juan.

She was an aspiring actress and the principal broker for Happy Hawaii Homes, which she founded in 2005.  San Juan's business is listed at the address where her body was discovered.

Her friends are in shock at her death and can't think of anyone who would harm her. "She always surrounded herself with positive people, and she was such a positive person that even on her worst day, when things were just, 'I didn't get this role,' or 'I really bombed this audition,' she always found something" that was positive, said her friend and talent agent, Nazarene Anderson of ADR Agency.

According to Mary Beth San Juan's Twitter and Facebook pages, her passions were family, realty and acting.  The 58-year-old's body was discovered Tuesday night at the Punahou Street home by her ex-husband.  They split about six years ago, but family members say the two were still very close.  They took a trip with their son to Paris in 2011.

San Juan also mentioned in her Twitter feed in February that she had had some health issues involving a nerve channel in her spine.

San Juan also reportedly made an announcement at her acting class Saturday. "She wasn't quite herself," said Anderson. "She did say it was going to be her last class for a while ,and that she was going to come back, but she just needed some time to focus on getting some things together."

Officials say San Juan's ex-husband last saw her at dinner Saturday night and was worried when he hadn't heard from her by Tuesday.  He reportedly flagged down a security guard when he was unable to find San Juan or her car, and the two later found her body in a carpet in the driveway of her Punahou office.

Early Wednesday morning, police recovered San Juan's 2013 silver Mercedes at Kapiolani Park. It had been issued a parking ticket at around noon Tuesday.

"To think that something like this could have happened to her, of all people, is just mind-boggling.  Gentle, quiet, soft-spoken, sweet as can be – whoever did this is going to pay. Too many people loved her. She was just such a sweetheart," said Scott Rogers, who has worked as San Juan's acting coach for several years.  Rogers last saw her at class Saturday night.

"I mean this comes as a complete shock to me, because I would never think that she could have any enemies," said Gabriella Sheindlin, who took acting classes with San Juan.  "She just really was a sweet woman."

Fellow classmate Valen Ahlo agreed. "She would be like one of the faces that you want to see in class, just because she was always happy."

However, Ahlo says San Juan had recently expressed she was going through a difficult time and asked for guidance.  Ahlo says he received a thank you card from San Juan, after suggesting she attend services at his church.

"I reached the end and found Christ and I can't tell you how grateful I am," Ahlo read from the hand-written note.

The Medical Examiner is not expected to release a report on how San Juan died until Thursday. A police source tells Hawai'i News Now, she may have died two or three days ago.

"We just want to know who did this," said Anderson. "You know, we just wanna know who did this, who could take a life. I mean, basically, anybody's life that's taken is tragic. But in this case, it doesn't fit."

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