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Monsalve murder defendant enters not guilty plea Thursday

Daughter says she wants justice, closure

Bernard Brown – Bail set at $1 million

WAILUKU — The daughter of a woman reported missing more than five years ago said she wanted justice for her mother, after her mother’s ex-boyfriend was arraigned Thursday on a charge alleging he murdered her.

Bernard Brown, 48, pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge when he appeared in 2nd Circuit Court.

An indictment returned Sept. 20 by a Maui County grand jury alleges he caused the death of Moreira “Mo” Monsalve on Jan. 12 to 13, 2014.

The 46-year-old mother of three was last seen the night of Jan. 12, 2014, at Brown’s apartment at Iao Parkside in Wailuku.

Two days later, after Monsalve hadn’t shown up for work or responded to phone calls, Alexis Felicilda reported her mother missing.

“I want justice,” said Alexis Felicilda, whose mother Moreira “Mo” Monsalve has been missing for more than five years. “Without knowing what happened to her and knowing where she is, there’s never any closure.” The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

On Jan. 16, 2014, some of Monsalve’s belongings, including her purse, were recovered from a trash bin near the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku.

Brown left Maui and moved to Northern California after Monsalve’s disappearance.

The FBI Violent Crime Task Force and Sacramento Police Department officers arrested Brown at his residence in Sacramento the same day the indictment was returned.

Maui Police Department detectives brought Brown back to Maui on Wednesday after he had waived his right to have an extradition hearing.

Bail for Brown was set at $1 million.

Moreira Monsalve

In court Thursday, Deputy Public Defender Tyler Stevenson said the defense wasn’t asking for a bail hearing or bail study for Brown, who is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin asked that Brown have no contact with Monsalve’s daughter, Felicilda, who is “a material witness in the case.”

Martin also asked that Brown be ordered not to consume or possess alcohol or illegal drugs and, if he posts bail, report for supervision and random drug testing.

When Brown was arrested at his residence, officers observed drug paraphernalia near him, Martin said.

Judge Joseph Cardoza imposed the requirements sought by the prosecution.

A Dec. 2 trial was set for Brown.

Felicilda was among those in the courtroom gallery for the hearing Thursday.

At one point, she said Brown looked over at her and nodded. That made her feel “anger,” she said afterward.

“I knew from the beginning he did something to her,” Felicilda said. “He shouldn’t ever be out.

“This is where I’ve wanted to be and get to, and we’re here. This whole time I have been digging, tracking and following him. Anything I found, everything was turned over to the police.

“We have been saying never give up. I’m still not giving up. This is a process.”

Police said evidence that detectives retrieved from Monsalve’s cellphone played a huge part in the investigation, which benefited from changing technology over the years.

Felicilda said her mother’s phone, which was found in the same trash bin as her purse, was “in a couple of pieces.”

Police said the phone was sent to the FBI, which put it back together.

Felicilda said she has kept her two brothers on the Mainland informed about what’s happening in the case. Her younger brother, who was in high school when Monsalve disappeared, will soon graduate from college, she said.

Felicilda said she wants Brown “to tell us where she is, what he did to her, so we can bring her home, give her a proper funeral.”

“I want justice,” Felicilda said. “Without knowing what happened to her and knowing where she is, there’s never any closure.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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