Suspect in violent Punahou Street homicide identified
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly four days after her body was discovered wrapped inside a carpet in the driveway of her Punahou Street home, Honolulu police have arrested a man in connection with the violent murder of Mary Beth San Juan.
Police investigators confirmed to Hawaii News Now on Saturday that 41-year-old Vernon Baker was arrested without incident on suspicion of second degree murder at the Ala Moana Shopping Center just after 2:30 p.m.
Investigators have also confirmed that Baker is a Hawaii resident and an acquaintance of the victim, though it was not immediately clear how he and the victim knew each other or if they were romantically involved.
A Facebook search for a man named Vernon Baker reveals a profile with photographs that appear to match those of the suspect in police custody. The profile, which is named "Vernon Lux Baker," also lists Mary Beth San Juan as one of its Facebook friends.
San Juan, 56, died after being stabbed multiple times, according to official autopsy results released by the Honolulu Medical Examiner on Friday. Her body was discovered on Tuesday evening.
On Thursday, police released surveillance tapes from a security camera of an individual they believed to be the primary suspect in the case. Grainy images showed what investigators said was likely a man wearing a woman's clothing using the victim's card at a bank machine in Manoa.
Early Friday morning, the victim's wallet was found in a dumpster outside of the Waikiki Beachside Hostel, police sources confirm.
Public information received by police after the tapes were released helped police identify the suspect, and two tips that were given to police have been described as "critical" in assisting police with an arrest. Police reportedly began searching for the suspect who is now in custody at some point on Saturday morning.
Officials believe Baker was staying in Waikiki, though are unable to confirm exactly where.
Baker was reportedly taken to the hospital after he was arrested for injuries described as being unrelated to the murder. He is currently in police custody at an area hospital.
Stay with Hawaii News Now for more details as they develop.
Related story: WATCH surveillance video of Punahou St. homicide suspect
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