A Google Cloud manager who was arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife while they were on vacation in Hawaii has been released from custody while police continue to investigate her death.
Harvard-educated Sonam Saxena, 43, reported his wife Smriti missing on Tuesday evening, and was arrested the next day. The couple were enjoying a vacation in Hawaii along with their children when her body was found on a beach.
axena had claimed the 41-year-old mother-of-two had vanished during a late night stroll on a secluded beach south of Anaehoomalu Bay, in South Kohala.
Saxena was released on Friday without charges, pending further investigation.
The family, from Bellevue, Washington, were travelling with their two daughters aged 13 and eight to celebrate their eldest child’s birthday – a trip they take every year.
Saxena claimed Smriti, a business program manager for Microsoft, suffered an asthma attack and disappeared while he went to get her inhaler from their room at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort.
Police found a body on Wednesday morning near where she was last seen and arrested Saxena a few hours later on suspicion of second degree murder.
An autopsy was conducted, but more testing is needed to determine her exact cause of death. It’s not clear what the initial results of the autopsy revealed.
Before his arrest, Saxena – a product manager at Google Cloud in Seattle – posted an appeal for information on the Linkedin network.
He wrote: ‘My wife Smriti Saxena is missing. Can you please promote this tweet so that I can tell my daughters where their Mom is #help.’
Saxena also gave an interview with West Hawaii Today and described how his wife went missing after they had been drinking at the Lava Lava Beach Club and decided to go for a stroll on the beach.
He said: ‘She got an asthma attack right there on the beach and she was feeling weak and she didn’t want to walk all the way back because it’s almost a 20-minute walk back from that beach to our room.
‘So, I said, ‘hey, you know what? You stay here, you have your phone with you and I’ll just go to the room grab your inhaler and pump and come back.’
When he returned ’40 to 50 minutes’ later he found her purse, phone, credit card and driver’s license were all there but she had gone.
He said: ‘I was disturbed because why would she leave her purse and her phone on the beach and head back to the room.
‘It just seemed really odd,’ he said. ‘So I rushed back to the room. I checked the room and I saw that she wasn’t in the room. So I went down stairs and that’s when I dialed 911.’
Saxena said he helped police and security officers scour the area.
‘We called out for her but there was nothing,’ he said. ‘No response.’
Police released an appeal to find Smriti saying she had last been seen around 10:30pm wearing a black dress with a multicolored floral design and a black jacket.
The pair, married for 17 years with two children, ages 13 and 8, would come to Hawaii every year to celebrate their eldest child’s birthday.
Prior to graduating from Harvard Business School in General Management, Saxena earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nautical Science from Mumbai University