The mysterious case of Moreira "Mo" Monsalve's disappearance has culminated in a verdict more than eight years later, pointing fingers at an individual who had been a significant figure in her life.
Moreira "Mo" Monsalve, aged 46, was last seen on January 12, 2014. The last person she was with? Her ex-boyfriend, Bernard Brown, at his Wailuku residence. Her sudden vanishing troubled her family, prompting her daughter, Alexis Felicilda, to report her missing two days after her last known sighting. Just a few days after this, Mo's personal belongings emerged, tragically discarded in a dumpster close to a community center in Wailuku.
Although Maui Police had their eyes on Brown, labeling him as a 'person of interest', they hadn't officially deemed him a suspect when Dateline spotlighted the story as part of their “Missing in America” series later in 2014. One significant detail left everyone baffled: Mo's body had never been found.
Yet, even without the tangible evidence of her remains, in September 2019, five years after her disappearance, the case took a turn. Bernard Brown faced an indictment for Mo's murder. The news was bittersweet for Mo’s daughter, Alexis, who expressed a mix of shock, sorrow, and anger to local NBC affiliate KHNL.
At Brown's trial, Alexis confronted the man suspected of ending her mother's life, recounting her desperate call to him when Mo went untraceably silent. The trial also shed light on the concerns of one of Mo’s friends, Matthew Wilkins, who had advised Mo to tread cautiously in her relationship with Brown.
Yet, the trial wasn't straightforward. As Deputy Prosecutor, J.W. Hupp highlighted, the lack of a concrete crime scene posed a challenge for the jury. Bernard Brown’s defense attorney, Randall Hironaka, emphasized this point, stating that no tangible evidence - be it hair or any other biological traces - connected Brown to Mo's alleged murder. In Hironaka's words, the trial was nothing but a “witch hunt.”
Nonetheless, after intense deliberations, the jury came to a decisive conclusion: Bernard Brown was guilty of the 2014 murder of Moreira "Mo" Monsalve. While the defense expressed their disappointment, the long-awaited verdict brought a chapter of the mystery to a close, though the haunting question of Mo's final whereabouts remains unanswered.