Murder charge in missing woman case

The ex-boyfriend of a Makawao woman who was five months pregnant when she disappeared in early February has been indicted on charges of killing her and torching her SUV to cover up the crime, police and prosecutors said Monday.

Steven Capobianco, 24, of Lahaina is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in 2nd Circuit Court.

Capobianco is charged with second-degree murder and third-degree arson. His bail was set at $2 million.

A Maui County grand jury indicted Capobianco on Friday on charges relating to the death of 27-year-old Carly “Charli” Scott, who has not been found, despite an intensive search after her disappearance. Capobianco was served with the arrest warrant Monday afternoon at Maui Community Correctional Center, where he has been held since last month in an unrelated case, Maui police spokesman Lt. William Juan said.

Capobianco is the father of Scott’s unborn child and has denied hurting her, according to media reports.

Jeff Simon, a close friend of the family, said he and family members will likely attend today’s hearing.

“We applaud the hard work of the Maui Police Department, MPD Special Response Team, Maui County Prosecutors Office and all assisting agencies that worked tirelessly to investigate, gather and process evidence in the case of Charli Scott, so that the perpetrator of this especially heinous murder can be indicted and eventually prosecuted,” Simon said in an email Monday. “We hope that the Scott family gets the justice they deserve for the murder of their daughter Charli and her unborn son Joshua.”

Simon is the director of Maui Search and Rescue, a group formed this year to assist police and fire officials in searching for lost or missing people in Maui County. He said he could not divulge details of past and future searches related to Scott’s murder because the police investigation still is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the location of Scott should call the Maui Police Department at 244-6400 or email Maui Search and Rescue at info@mauisearchandrescue.org.

Family members last saw Scott on the night of Feb. 9 at her sister’s Haiku home. The Makawao woman’s burned 1997 Toyota 4Runner was found Feb. 12 in Peahi, near the “Jaws” surfing site.

Before the vehicle was located, police found Scott’s dog in Nahiku.

Police originally dealt with the disappearance as a missing person’s case but extensive searches by family, volunteers and law enforcement officials in East Maui led to the discovery of the torched car and clothes and a blanket that belonged to Scott. The police in March reclassified the case as a homicide investigation.

Capobianco has told Hawaii News Now that he and Scott broke up several years ago but remained friends and “occasionally hooked up.”

He said that she picked him up the night of Feb. 9 and drove him to Keanae so he could fix his pickup truck. He said that after he fixed his truck, Scott was driving behind him, but he lost sight of her and figured she arrived safely at her destination.

He said that he “absolutely” did not hurt Scott.

Scott family members said that Carly Scott did receive a call from Capobianco, who said that his car had broken down and asked if she would drive out to help him the night of Feb. 9. That was the last time her family saw or heard from her.

Before Monday’s arrest, Capobianco was being held at MCCC on $535,000 bail for burglary, theft and deadly weapons charges. In April, Capobianco was charged with first-degree burglary in a case unrelated to Scott’s disappearance, police said.

The burglary case allegedly occurred in September, when he and possibly others allegedly stole $1,600 worth of computers from a Haiku home. Tires on one vehicle at the residence were deflated, and tires were slashed on another vehicle. Damage was estimated at $800.

In June, Capobianco was arrested on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening and a deadly weapons charge, according to police.

Police arrested Capobianco after a report that he sent a Snapchat message, including a photo and text, to at least five people and threatened serious bodily harm, a prosecutor said during the bail hearing for the case. Police said one person who received the message was a 16-year-old girl; she was described as a Scott family member on the “Find Chari Scott” Facebook page.

Capobianco hasn’t been charged with terroristic threatening while an investigation continues.

Most of the bail amount is related to alleged bail violations in the burglary case.

Multiple attempts to reach family members of Carly Scott were unsuccessful Monday.

Scott’s initial disappearance came on the heels of another missing person’s case. Moreira “Mo” Monsalve, 46, a mother of three, has not been seen since Jan. 12. Extensive searches around the island have been conducted but have not turned up the woman.

Police said Monday that there are no updates on Monsalve’s case and that it is unrelated to the Scott murder case.

* The Associated Press contributed to this report. Chris Sugidono can be reached at csugidono@mauinews.com.