WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Four days into the search for a missing pregnant woman in Maui, her half-sister and a group of volunteers got their first serious clues, finding a skirt, shirt and bra that appeared stained with blood. The sister recognized the items as belonging to 27-year-old Carly Scott and the searchers called police.
That led to a turning point in what started as a missing persons case — the discovery of a jawbone that would eventually help authorities file a murder charge against her ex-boyfriend, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press.
Scott's mother, Kimberlyn Scott, declined to discuss the details of the case but told The Associated Press she now believes the man charged with killing her daughter, 24-year-old Steven Capobianco, is responsible and the only one who knows where her body is.
"We wanted something else — we wanted a different answer than it was Steven," Kimberlyn Scott said. "For me, personally, it took a while, and I have only recently come to the conclusion that it was Steven."
After the discovery, police began investigating Scott's disappearance as a homicide. Then last week, a grand jury indicted Steven Capobianco, 24, on charges of murder and arson.
The person, who was not authorized to discuss the case, declined to reveal exactly how authorities linked the jawbone to Capobianco, the father of Scott's child.
He is accused of killing Scott and burning her sport utility vehicle to cover up the crime. The Makawao woman's burned 1997 Toyota 4Runner was found on the island's north shore.
An indictment says Capobianco intentionally or knowingly caused Scott's death "in an especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel manner, manifesting exceptional depravity" during the period from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13.
During that period, he also set fire to Scott's property, the indictment said.
Capobianco has pleaded not guilty. Shelly Miyashiro, the public defender who represented him at his arraignment, didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.
The person said when maggot-infested clothes belonging to Scott were found, it became clear she was dead.
Jeff Simon, co-founder of Maui Search and Rescue, the volunteer organization that directed the search, said police found human remains at the site after the clothes were identified.
"At that point, we stopped and got in touch with the Maui Police Department," Simon said.
Searchers were led to the site because of a tracking system in Scott's phone that pinged her last location. It was in a jungle area between two small bays along Hana Highway, a popular tourist drive along Maui's east coast.
Early in the search for the missing redhead, Capobianco told Hawaii News Now that he had nothing to do with hurting Carly Scott, who went by the nickname Charli.
He said she had picked him up the night before her family reported her missing and drove him to a site where his truck had broken down. After he fixed the truck, she drove behind him but he eventually lost sight of her and figured she made it safely to her destination, he said.
Kimberlyn Scott said the volunteers searchers were key to finding initial answers and she's confident authorities police have pieced the mystery together properly, even if she's not sure of every piece.
"I'm confident that it is being handled properly and I'm glad that it's moving forward," she said.
Kimberlyn Scott said her next priority is to find her daughter's body. She also wants to push for state legislation to make killing a fetus a crime, and highlight other missing persons cases in Maui and around the country to spur action.
Hawaii law doesn't consider a fetus a person for purposes of homicide charges.
Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia
- Crime & Justice
- Society & Culture