Two California men are both shocked and relieved after a young man they met while on vacation in Honolulu was arrested in a brutal murder.
Ronald Wu and Mohammad Daudie’s recent vacation in Hawaii was something they’ll remember forever, and not just because of the scuba diving.
On one of their nights out, they met 23-year-old Juan Tejedor-Baron and they liked him immediately.
"Since I'm in Hawaii and I want to make friends, he seemed very nice actually," said Daudie, an Oakland resident.
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Wu, a San Francisco resident, said they danced and drank with him and became fast friends.
On the third day, Tejedor-Baron invited them over to what he told them was his house in an exclusive Honolulu neighborhood.
"We didn't notice anything, except that, there's like a bar on the bedrooms, like you can't just enter easily,” said Daudie. “And I was observing everything, we went to the balcony of the house."
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Less than a week after the pair left, that house became a crime scene.
Honolulu police discovered the 73-year-old homeowner’s body in a bathtub, covered with concrete.
Their new friend, Tejedor-Baron, was wanted for the murder. He fled Hawaii, police said, and was arrested in Anaheim hiding under a seat on a Greyhound bus bound for Mexico.
Daudie and Wu were already back in the Bay Area, but another friend who had joined them in Hawaii had decided to stay an extra week with Tejedor-Baron, they said. Police initially arrested that man as well, believing he was involved in the crime since they had identified security camera footage where he was talking around Honolulu with the alleged killer. He was later released after authorities determined he wasn't involved in the death, Honolulu police said.
Daudie and Wu said they’re sure their friend who traveled with them had nothing to do with the crime.
"He's a very close friend of mine,” said Daudie. “I even invited him to Hawaii and paid for the trip."
Tejedor-Baron is still in custody in Los Angeles awaiting a hearing. He is slated to be sent back to Hawaii to face murder charges.
Daudie and Wu said they can barely believe that they, and their friend, spent so much time with a man now accused of a gruesome crime.
"I believe he's a psycho killer, because who would stay in that place for weeks, with a dead body there?" said Daudie.
"And casually invite people over and casually hang out with everyone, as if nothing happened," said Wu.