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.
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.
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
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
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
The family is considering hiring trackers with dogs to look
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
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
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