Police find woman in car’s trunk, 2 juveniles in Hawaii home

HONOLULU (AP) — Blood dripped from a car as it pulled away from a home in a rural area of Hawaii’s Big Island, leading officers to a woman’s body stuffed inside the trunk and two children dead inside the house, authorities said Friday.

John Ali Hoffman was arrested on suspicion of three counts of murder and a firearms offense. Though his relationship to the victims was not clear, it “looks like they were all living in the same house,” police Capt. Robert Wagner said.

A relative said Hoffman had a wife and two young children — a boy and a girl.

Officers responded to a disturbance call in a subdivision in the rural Puna district around 1:30 a.m., spotting a man leaving a house and driving away in a car with its headlights off.

They pulled over Hoffman, saw a gun in the front seat and blood dripping from the trunk, police said. Officers opened it and found the woman’s body.

In the house, they discovered the bodies of a boy and a girl, Wagner said. Police were trying to identify the victims.

Hoffman’s sister-in-law, Marie Hoffman, was shocked to hear the allegations.

“That don’t sound right,” she said several times in a phone interview from Minneapolis.

She said she did not know much about John Hoffman’s wife but that he is originally from St. Louis and moved to Hawaii about 20 years ago.

Marie Hoffman, who is married to his brother, described John Hoffman as the kind of man who takes care of people, especially children.

“He’s stern, but he’s cool,” she said.

John Hoffman was in jail and was not allowed to speak with the media, Wagner said.

A triple homicide is rare, not only for the area, but for the entire island, the captain said.

“I can’t remember having one before,” he said. “It’s definitely unique.”


Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa. Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jennifer-sinco-kelleher.