Maui News

Capobianco Murder Trial: 4Runner Sighted in Hāna

August 17, 2016, 11:37 AM HST
* Updated August 18, 6:00 AM
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Shelly Tumbaga

Shelly Tumbaga

A tropical flower farmer from Hāna, Maui testified on Tuesday in the ongoing murder trial of Steven Capobianco, who is standing trial for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Carly “Charli” Scott.  He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Scott was 27-years-old and five months pregnant with a child fathered by Capobianco when she went missing in February of 2014.

On Tuesday, Shelly Tumbaga testified that she saw a Toyota 4Runner traveling on the Hāna Highway on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.  That’s the same evening that Capobianco said his vehicle stalled approximately 3 miles past Keʻanae.

Tumbaga said she had just come from her brother’s house in Makawao where she and her husband attended a birthday party for her nephew.  The couple left Makawao at around 11 p.m. and traveled along the Hāna Highway toward their home in Hāna Town.

According to Tumbaga’s testimony, it was raining that night and she had reached the Kailua area between 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, and midnight on Sunday, noting that it’s about 45 minutes to an hour before Keʻanae on the way to East Maui.

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According to Tumbaga, she noticed another vehicle on the road, a light metallic colored 4Runner, that she said passed her a couple of times while en route to Hāna.  She said that when the vehicle stopped several times, she passed it, but it would speed up and pass her again.

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“By the time we got to Hāna Town, they were in front of us,” she said.

Several days later, on or around Valentine’s Day, Tumbaga said she reached out to Maui Police to report that she had seen the vehicle.  During testimony she said that she does not know the defendant or what type of vehicle he drives.

Both Capobianco and his ex-girfriend, Charli Scott owned 4Runners.  Both were light in color. Tumbaga said the 4Runner that she observed on Feb. 8, 2014 had two stickers on the tailgate:  one that said something about surfing; and on the right side, there as a sticker that had the letters “S” and “F” on it, which she imagined could have been a San Francisco 49ers sticker, but noted that she was not a football fan so couldn’t say for sure.

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Capobianco had told police that his 4Runner was stalled along the Hāna Highway late Saturday night, Feb. 8, 2014.  He told police that he called Scott who he said gave him a ride out to the Keʻanae area on Sunday evening, Feb. 9, 2014.  According to his account to police, Capobianco said that after he was finished fixing his vehicle, Scott followed him towards Haʻikū and he could see her headlights behind him up until the Twin Falls area.

Scott was reported missing on Monday evening, Feb. 10, 2014, after she failed to show up for work and did not return calls from her family.

She was last seen in her sliver colored 1997 Toyota 4Runner with the Hawaiʻi plates MDE889, and a silver skull with LED eyes in the front grill.  Personal items and clothing belonging to Scott were found on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 at Nuaʻailua Bay, and her vehicle was found burned and tipped on its side in the Peʻahi or “Jaws” area on Wednesday evening, Feb. 12, 2014.

According to Tumbaga’s testimony, she and her husband drive out to Kahului Harbor early each Saturday morning, and on her way to Kahului on that particular day, she said “no vehicles were stalled, other than the usual,” explaining that there’s a particular property past Kailua that is known for its “jalopy” cars that have been sitting there for a while.

She said she was “positive” when asked if she was sure that she didn’t see any stalled vehicles on the side of the road.  “We make it a point to watch for people,” said Tumbaga, noting that she and her husband have helped motorists who have gotten stuck several times in the past.  She said she has called police twice in the past to report tire marks on road embankments which could have indicated that a vehicle may have gotten into an accident and gone off the road.

She said the findings are not uncommon while driving along the remote and winding road where motorists can also encounter landslides and fallen trees during inclement weather.

The trial resumes on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016.  The defense is expected to call two witnesses who will be traveling from the mainland to testify.

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