HONOLULU — A young National Guard soldier from Hawaii was found dead in a burning car at a high school in Honolulu on Monday. A male acquaintance is charged with murder after reportedly stabbing the woman in the neck before lighting the vehicle on fire, according to reports.
Hawaii Army National Guard Spc. Laau Jordan Laulusa, 21, was identified as the victim. The woman known to her family and friends by her middle name Jordan was discovered at about 6:40 a.m. Monday inside the fire-damaged automobile, which was parked outside Mililani High School, KITV reported.
Spc. Laau Jordan Laulusa was a supply specialist for the 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion, according to the National Guard. (Family Handout)
According to law enforcement authorities, witnesses saw a male suspect holding a “bladed weapon” opening and closing the doors on the car seconds before it went up in flames. Once the vehicle was on fire he fled the scene.
Witnesses who happened to be passing by when the crime was in progress managed to tail the suspect until police arrived and made the arrest.
On Thursday, Samuel Jones, 25, was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson. His bail was set at $1 million.
Jones’ specific relationship to Laulusa was unclear based upon conflicting local news reports.
“The family said the suspect in custody was the girl’s boyfriend,” according to KHON2. However, KITV reported, “Family members say Jordan was not in a relationship with Jones and had only recently met him at a social gathering.”
Samuel Jones is charged with murder. (Honolulu Police Department)
“Our Aloha and prayers are with her ‘ohana (family) and those who knew this soldier personally and professionally,” Brig. Gen. Stephen Logan, commanding officer of the Hawaii Army National Guard, said in a statement.
“This is a tragic loss for the entire Hawai‘i Army National Guard. We are cooperating with authorities during the ongoing investigation,” he added.
Laulusa joined the military in 2019. She worked as a supply specialist for the 227th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, according to the National Guard.
“It’s too bad because she’s still young, a beautiful girl, real kind, and she didn’t deserve this,” her uncle, Sasoa Feagai, told KHON.
Laulusa was described by her family as a beautiful individual and said she was looking forward to traveling the world with the military, the New York Post reported.
“Where’s the love? What happened? It’s so hard to think about something like this happen(ing) to anybody,” Feagai told KITV. “But it does happen. Without the aloha and love that we should give people.”
Laulusa’s uncle said he is grateful for the witnesses who got involved and trailed the suspect until he could be captured by police.
“Thankful for those people who did that otherwise who knows how long it’s going to be to be solved,” Feagai told the news outlet. “We’re just dealing with the tragedy of it and try to make sense of what had happened.”