Police arrest suspect in Makiki murder case

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Honolulu police have made an arrest in the murder of Oahu realtor Mary Beth San Juan.

A 41-year-old man, whom police say is an acquaintance of San Juan, is now being held for second-degree murder.

On Saturday at about 2:30p.m., police made an arrest at Ala Moana Shopping Center, after looking for the murder suspect all morning.

The suspect was first taken to the hospital for unrelated injuries and then brought into cell block, where police can begin their formal questioning.

Police have been working around the clock since Tuesday night after San Juan’s body was found brutally murdered and wrapped in a carpet in her Punahou Street driveway.

Vernon Baker, 41, is the man they believe is responsible for her murder.

“I think it will make the public rest more east knowing he’s in custody,” HPD Maj. Richard Robinson said.

Police would only say that Baker was an acquaintance of San Juan, but would not go into details of exactly how the two knew each other.

They said the tips from the public helped lead to this arrest.

“We had two very critical tips from the public. One helped to identify the suspect, the other helped us identify a critical piece of evidence,” Robinson said.

San Juan’s car was left on Kalakaua Avenue sometime between early Monday morning to mid-day Tuesday, after it was driven to an ATM, where the suspect dressed in a disguise and withdrew money from her bank account.

“The suspect matches the general description of the person in that video,” Robinson said.

Two nights ago a key break in the case, where a man who collects recyclable cans found San Juan’s wallet placed in a garbage bag in front of the Waikiki Beachside Hostel.

Police believe the suspect was staying in Waikiki, but would not confirm where.

But the witness who found the wallet said he saw the garbage bag come directly out of the hostel. Police are not listing a local address for the suspect.

“We just made the arrest, now another phase starts. So now, we’re in the preliminary stages of that investigation, so DNA is now connecting more of the pieces together,” Robinson said.

Baker has not yet been charged.

Police say they are not looking for any other suspects at this time.

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