- Google product manager Sonam Saxena has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of his wife, Smitri Saxena.
- Smitri, who was a Microsoft business program manager, was reported missing by Sonam on Tuesday while the Seattle couple was vacationing in Hawaii.
- A body that could be Smitri’s was discovered on a beach on Wednesday, and Sonam was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Authorities have not positively identified the body or determined the cause of death.
- A former coworker of Sonam expressed shock in an interview with Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Google product manager Sonam Saxena reportedly called the police in Anaehoomalu Bay, Hawaii, on Tuesday night begging for help — he said his wife, Smitri Saxena, had gone missing. Two days later he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with her disappearance.
The Seattle couple were vacationing in Hawaii and spending time on the beach Tuesday when Smitri began having an asthma attack, Sonam told West Hawaii Today on Wednesday. Sonam said he walked back to the Waikoloa Beach Marriot Resort to get his wife’s asthma inhaler, and that when he returned, her phone and purse were still on the beach but Smitri was gone.
In addition to calling the police and giving an interview to West Hawaii Today, the 43-year-old product engineer tweeted a plea for help finding his wife, 41, Wednesday evening.
—Sonam Saxena (@SonamSaxena) February 19, 2020
Later that day, Hawaii Island Police arrested Sonam and charged him with murder in the second degree after discovering a female body on the beach “in the general area where Smriti Saxena was reported as a missing person and last seen Tuesday evening,” Hawaii police wrote in a news release. A Hawaii Island Police spokesperson told Business Insider that an autopsy was scheduled. Police have yet to positively ID the body.
Smitri and Sonam both lived and worked in the Seattle area, where Sonam worked for Google and Smitri worked for Microsoft.
Sonam moved to Seattle from India in 2008, initially working at Skykick, a cloud-computing company. According to one of his coworkers, Sonam was known in the office for being personable and outgoing.
“Skykick is a small company and he was always very pleasant to talk to, very conversational,” Skykick engineer Jianguo Jiang told Business Insider. (Disclosure: Jiang’s daughter, Irene Jiang, is a Business Insider reporter.)
Jiang said that he rarely heard Sonam discuss his personal life or family and never heard anything to suggest that there was marital strife between the couple.
“This is a surprise to me — I wouldn’t expect it,” Jiang said. “I would not imagine he’d do it.”
A representative for Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment.