Coming to Hawaii can be an escape from everyday life. But real problems happen here, too, like this tragic murder at the hands of a visitor that recently took place in an exclusive gated Hawaii community. More details are being released now. This comes just a few months after we wrote about The Enigma of Vanishing Persons on Kauai and Cults and a murder from 40 years ago that is back in the news.
In this recent case, a 73-year-old man was killed by his visitor lover, who strangled him, placed him in a bathtub, poured some concrete over the body, and then tried to make it look like it was suicide. The incident took place in Hawaii Loa Ridge, a high-end, gated, and exclusive Honolulu enclave.
Hawaii Loa Ridge is a private community in East Honolulu that features its own parks, tennis courts, clubhouse, and security. The Hawaii Loa Ridge website says that it is “luxury living at its finest… a world-class community of approximately 557 homes situated on the south shore of the island of Oahu… in the foothills of the Koolau Mountains. Properties have incredible panoramic views of East Oahu and over the Pacific Ocean… Hawaii Loa Ridge was conceived specifically for those who demand the ultimate in exclusive living.” Hawaii Loa Ridge properties currently for sale are listed from $2.65M to $27M.
So to have this be the setting of a murder has shaken privileged community members.
Earlier this week, police excavated the body. Soon after that, the accused was found hiding in a crawlspace behind a bus bound for Mexico from Orange County. He (Juan Baron) confessed to the murder of a man named Gary Ruby and is set to be extradited to Honolulu.
The police affidavit said, “Baron stated that soon after, he noticed Ruby choked on food, and Baron reacted by placing a belt around Ruby’s neck and tightening the belt until Ruby lost consciousness.” The victim was taken to the bathroom where a kitchen knife was somehow used to stage the event to appear as a suicide.
Ruby hadn’t been completely covered with concrete. After a trip to Home Depot for more concrete, both coffee grounds and concrete were used to further obscure the body and its odor. The police department said, “the male (Baron) allowed detectives to search the home, but the victim was not located. While at the home, detectives observed that there was a bathroom tub filled with a concrete-type substance.”
Not only that but the accused committed forgery to gain ownership of a new Audi and planned to transfer title to the home for which Ruby paid $2.2M in 2002.
The victim’s brother notified the Honolulu Police Department because he hadn’t heard from him in weeks. He also mentioned that his brother said he had a new younger love interest. When police appeared at the home, Baron said the home was his, alleging that he had purchased it from the victim years earlier.
Honolulu police officers picked up and later dropped off the man accused of murder. Police said they didn’t have adequate probable cause to further detain him. He wasn’t under police surveillance thereafter.
The last place that Baron and Ruby were seen was at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, pictured here.
Another Hawaii murder involving a visitor, unsolved for 40 years, comes alive.
Although the FBI reports that Hawaii has among the lowest murder rates in the country, there were still 41 murders in Hawaii during 2020, the last year reported.
There remains a list of still unsolved visitor murders here in Hawaii, one of which just came to life after more than 40 years. Jeff remembers the late 70s murder of a Bay Area woman who was visiting on a Kauai hiking vacation.
Valerie Ann Warshay, who was 26 at the time, was visiting from Half Moon Bay. It was 1978, and she was on a hiking trip to the Big Island, staying near Hilo. She was out with friends near Volcanoes National Park, and the next morning was found dead at her campsite.
Two years later, Big Island police thought that the mystery had been solved when they named Stephen Ray Simpson as the suspect in that and another murder. The Puna resident was found guilty of murdering a Hilo college student, but in the end, never stood trial for Valerie Ann Warshay’s homocide.
Late last year, over 40 years after the crime, police announced they were seeking new leads in the case. “On April 23, 1978, Valerie Ann Warshay was discovered deceased at the Harry K. Brown Park in Kalapana. The manner of her death was ruled a homicide. Ms. Warshay was 26 years old and visiting from California where she was employed as a park ranger. She had been on the island for a few weeks before her death. Ms. Warshay made numerous acquaintances across the island and was said to be an avid hiker. She also played flute or recorder-style woodwind at island social gatherings.
Ms. Warshay’s death is still being actively investigated by the Hawaiʻi Police Department. So many years later, police are again asking that anyone who may have encountered Ms. Warshay during her stay on the island, or who has information about her death, to contact Detective Derek Morimoto of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2380 or via email at [email protected], or call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.
Unsolved visitor murder on Kauai.
Sleepy Kauai also has murder cases that have gone cold. They include the 1981 deaths of visitors John and Michelle Klein. The 28-year-old man and his 25-year-old wife were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on the Kuilau Trail off Loop Road near Kapaa. They had been vacationing on Kauai.
And a near-murder of a visitor on Kauai too.
Just ten years ago, we remember the strange story of a Japanese visitor to Kauai who was violently thrown off a cliff in Kalalau Valley. A Kauai man from Kilauea was convicted of the crime, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison.