Murder Investigation in Death of Molokai Woman

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

The investigation is ongoing in the murder of a 43-year-old Molokai woman last week. On Nov. 19 at 5:46 p.m., Molokai emergency dispatchers received a 911 call from a male about a possible murder at his house, according to police. When police officers arrived, they found the lifeless body of a female, who was later identified as Amie Kaholoaa. The man, who police later said was 59-year-old Mariano Garces, could not be found in the area by police.

At 6 a.m. the next day, Garces returned to his house and was placed under arrest for murder in the second degree, according to police. His bail was set at $1 million.

Kaholoaa, a mother and grandmother, was identified as Garces’ girlfriend and court records show a history of domestic abuse. Kaholoaa filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against Garces in February, The Maui News reported. In the petition, Kaholoaa said that on Jan. 31, Garces choked and stepped on her, punched her in the face and hit her with a stick. 

“I have bruises on my body from this incident,” her petition said. “I’m afraid of him and feel like he will kill me one day.”

At the time, she called police, who escorted her off Garces’ property.

Kaholoaa’s petition stated that Garces had hunting guns and she believed he might use a firearm to threaten, injure or abuse her or someone else because “he’s a crazy person,” The Maui News reported.

“Mariano has a long history of drugs and has anger issues…” the petition stated, and Kaholoaa had asked for him to get help.

However, court records show that neither Kaholoaa or Garces showed up for the court hearing on Feb. 16, therefore the petition was dismissed and the temporary restraining order dissolved.

Garces pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of firearm and ammunition possession as a felon, according to a pending case in 2nd Circuit Court. Court records also show in 2007, Garces was placed on probation for firearm and drug charges.

Last Wednesday, Garces appeared before a judge by video from his Wailuku courthouse cell for his initial court appearance, and the judge kept his bail at $1million.


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