WAILUKU - Police opened a homicide investigation and had a suspect in custody in the death of a woman whose body was found Thursday evening near Nakalele Point when officers responded to a report of a domestic dispute in the area.
The woman was believed to be a California resident in her 30s, said Maui police spokesman Lt. Wayne Ibarra. He said her name wasn't being released Friday while police worked to confirm her identity and notify her family.
A determination of the cause of the woman's death was pending an autopsy, possibly Tuesday after the Labor Day weekend, Ibarra said.
The suspect, a 38-year-old California man, was taken into custody Friday morning after he fled and jumped into the ocean Thursday, shortly after police arrived at the scene on Kahekili Highway near Milepost 37, Ibarra said.
He said the man and woman - who were not married - had been staying together in a room at a Kaanapali resort.
Police believe the couple arrived on Maui on Wednesday.
Police were called to the Nakalele Point area a few minutes before 6:30 p.m. Thursday after a witness reported the domestic dispute, Ibarra said. When police arrived, they saw a man in the area. As officers tried to contact the man, he fled and jumped off a cliff into the ocean, Ibarra said.
Shortly before 7 p.m., police contacted Maui firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard to help rescue the man, who had climbed onto a rocky outcropping at the point.
Then, shortly before 7:30 p.m., officers found the dead woman down a rocky cliffside toward the ocean nearby, said Ibarra, who declined to comment on the extent of visible signs of injury to the woman.
Police also found a vehicle believed to be used by the couple in the vicinity of Nakalele Point, he said.
At 6:45 a.m. Friday, police and a Kahului rescue crew were taken aboard the Fire Department's Air One helicopter to the rocky outcropping at Nakalele, where they found the man and took him into custody, Ibarra said. Officials waited for daylight so they could reach the man by helicopter.
The man was taken by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening. The man remained at the hospital, under guard, Friday evening.
The suspect had not been charged, Ibarra said.