A year after her death, killer still at large

She wanted to set a good example for her sons. She was moving ahead in her career.

She was securing her plans for a vibrant future — but that was all cut short a year ago today.

Sandra Mendonca Galas was found dead in her car around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 25, 2006, at 549 Lei Papa Place, ‘Ele‘ele Nani.

Galas died of strangulation with a cord-like object and blunt-force trauma to her head, according to her death certificate.

A petite, stunning woman, Galas was an assistant food and beverage manager for the Grand Hyatt in Po‘ipu — a job she took for its flexible schedule, so she could share time with her son and go to court for divorce proceedings from Darren Galas, her husband since 1999.

Galas, who had been hit by her husband when they were married, filed charges against him for domestic abuse in November 2005.

She left her husband in April 2005 and filed for divorce in August of that same year.

The two were in a legal battle over the custody of their children and the settlement over who would retain ownership of the house when Galas was murdered.

The couple’s two young boys are currently in the custody of their father.

This week a year ago, police arrested and released a man against whom they did not have enough evidence to press charges.

Also a year ago, police said they were evaluating evidence and awaiting laboratory results.

Whether that evidence has yielded any fruitful results is unclear, however, as police to this day will not comment on the case because it is still under investigation, Detective Sam Sheldon said.

Galas’s parents, Lawrence and Toshie Mendonca, are still offering a reward of $10,000 to anyone who can help find their daughter’s killer.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Sheldon, 241-1688.

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com.

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