Family defends Indian American Google employee suspected in wife’s death

Ritu Jha-

An Indian American Google employee who was arrested on the count of murder in the second-degree after his wife’s body was found on a beach in Hawaii has been released pending further investigation, Hawaii Island Police announced Fri., Feb 21 in a press release.

Sonam Saxena
Sonam Saxena

However, the family of suspect Sonam Saxena, 43, says he is innocent and did not kill his wife, 41-year -old Smriti Saxena.

“They are a simple good family,” Prakhar Panwaria, brother-in-law of Google manager Sonam Saxena, told indica. “I have been really devastated by the news.”

He emphasized that no charges have been filed against Sonam and said the allegations and news media reports are false.

“It’s true, Smriti is an asthma patient, and (Sonam) is innocent,” Panwaria said.

The Seattle-area couple had been to Hawaii several times, and this time they were there to celebrate their eldest daughter’s 10th birthday, Panwaria said, adding that the children are back home.

The media reported the couple were taking a walk when the woman had an asthma attack. Sonam rushed to Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort to get his wife’s asthma inhaler,  and when he returned to the beach her cell phone and purse were there, but she was missing, according to news reports..

Panwaria said he, too, is not aware of what happened and again emphasized that Sonam has not been charged and has been released.

According to the Feb. 21 press release, Hawaii Island Police are continuing a criminal investigation into the discovery of the mother and wife’s body on the southern shoreline of ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay this past Wed., Feb. 19.

It was on Tue., Feb. 18, at approximately 11:20 p.m., Sonam Saxena, of Bellevue, Washington, reported his wife, Smriti, missing.

The body was discovered the next morning, on Wed., Feb.19 along the shoreline.

At 1:30 p.m., Feb. 19, Sonam was arrested on the count of murder in the second-degree, according to police.

According to the police press release, Sonam was released pending investigation.

According to the media reports, Sonam tweeted Wed., Feb. 19 to Hawaii Gov. David Ige, “my wife has been missing since last night and @Hawaii_Police is busy giving interviews to media about body recovered, but is unwilling to pick up my phone.”

Smitri and Sonam both lived and worked in the Seattle area, where he worked for Google and Smitri worked for Microsoft. Saxena moved to Seattle from India in 2008, initially working at Skykick, a cloud computing company.

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