Family will continue search for missing New York woman

[]HAENA[] – The county has called off a search for a 49-year-old New

York woman who has been missing since March 14. But Kumiko Kurimoto’s family

plans to continue the search.

Police investigators theorize that Kurimoto

drowned. They say she may have waded in the water at the beach fronting Hanalei

Colony Resort, where some of her belongings were found, and was pulled out to

sea by strong rip currents.

The missing woman was last seen wearing a

swimsuit, and her slippers were found at the beach, said KPD Lt. Bill Ching,

who heads the Adult Investigations Section.

“She could have possibly

drowned, and the other extreme is that she could have been killed,” Ching said.

“But we dont have any proof of that.”

The missing woman’s husband, Robert

Berkley, of Ithica, N.Y., was expected to arrive Monday and her sister, Mariko

Kurimoto, has arrived from Yokohama, Japan.

“They are here to try to find

out what happened and see what they can do,” said Lawa’i resident Dave Ruskjer.

Kurimoto had been staying with Ruskjer for the past three months.

The

Lawa’i man said Kurimoto’s husband said she has a tendency to fall into

trances. “I would like to know, on a ground level, that everything has been

done, because her husband says she is capable of going into trances that last

for days,” Ruskjer said.

If the woman had fallen inta trance, she could

have wandered away from the Haena beach where her belongings were found, become

unconscious and be hidden from sight in brush and vegetation, he said.

Local psychics are optimistic that Kurimoto will be found alive, Ruskjer

said. They say she hasn’t drowned, but is in a coma or a trance. One psychic is

convinced she will wake up out of her trance tonight…and will be reunited

with her family Wednesday.

Kurimoto came to Kaua’i in October with her

family for a three-month stay and returned to New York, Ruskjer said.

In

December, she returned to Kaua’i because she couldn’t tolerate New York’s cold

weather and for health reasons, Ruskjer said.

“She came to heal herself,

physically, mentally and emotionally,” he said.

While on Kaua’i, Kurimoto

befriended a Native American Indian by the name of Chief Red Hawk, who lived in

the Mt. Shasta area in California and made yearly visits to the island, Ruskjer

said.

Chief Red Hawk set up sweat lodges on Kaua’i, Maui and O’ahu.

Kurimoto took part in the ceremonies as a way to strengthen her both physically

and spiritually, Ruskjer said.

Two weeks ago, he said, she met Scott

Jarvis of Haena, who showed her how to process a plant grown on Kaua’i that has

healing powers. Eventually, she accepted Jarvis’ offer to stay at his home for

a short time.

She spent most of her time either meditating or looking for

ways to heal herself, Ruskjer said. “Everything she did while she was here was

to find healing for herself.”

County firefighters, police officers and

lifeguards conducted ground and offshore searches off Haena and the Na Pali

Coast. An Air-1 Interisland Helicopter aircraft also conducted an unsuccessful

aerial search.

On Friday, a three-member dive team from the Kaua’i Fire

Department searched waters off the beach by the Hanalei Colony Resort without

success, said Ching.

Kurimoto’s family paid Air-1 Inter-Island

Helicopters to conduct another search of the Na Pali Coast on Saturday. But no

signs of the missing woman were found.

Family members and Ruskjer said

they appreciate the efforts of all who have tried to find Kurimoto. But Ruskjer

said calling off the search might be premature because of extenuating

circumstances.

The family is considering hiring trackers with dogs to look

for Kurimoto.

The woman’s disappearance has been classified as a missing

person, and a search won’t be resumed unless new evidence surfaces to show she

is alive.

Kurimoto stands 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs 95 pounds, has

brown eyes and mid-length black hair, a tan complexion and a slim build.

Anyone with information about the woman is asked to call Crime Stoppers at

241-6787.

Individuals who provide information that leads to finding the

missing woman would be eligible for a cash reward under the program, which is

administered by the Kaua’i police and is sponsored by the Kaua’i Chamber of

Commerce. Individuals also may call the Kaua’i Police Dispatch Office at

241-6711.

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