Man Allegedly Threw His Ex-Wife Overboard On Italian Cruise Ship
A former Orange County attorney has been arrested on suspicion of strangling his ex-wife while they were on an Italian cruise seven years ago and then throwing her body overboard.
Micki Kanesaki, 52, was found off the coast of Paola, Italy in 2006. But her ex-husband Lonnie Loren Kocontes, 55, was only arrested yesterday in connection with her murder, according to a release from the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Kocontes was a former Mission Viejo attorney who met Kanesaki when she worked as a paralegal. The two were married in 1995, and they divorced in 2001 but continued to see each other on and off until her death.
Kanesaki was last seen on the night of May 25, 2006 on a cruise along the Italian Riviera. Authorities believe Kocontes killed Kanesaki that night or early the next morning. He reported her missing, and her body was found by the time Kocontes had flown back to California on May 27, 2006.
Kocontes later moved to Safety Harbor, Florida, where he was arrested yesterday. He is expected to be extradited back to Orange County.
Authorities said Kocontes benefited from Kanesaki's death, because he was the beneficiary of their shared home and bank accounts with balances totaling more than $1 million. The FBI began monitoring the accounts for illegal activity in 2008, and the US Attorney's Office ultimately seized money from Kocontes' bank accounts.
The US Attorney's Office began reviewing the case with the Orange County Sheriff's Department in 2010. In 2012, some new evidence came to light (what exactly isn't clear), and the charges were filed this week. He is charged with murdering for financial gain, a crime that carries a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole but he could also be eligible for the death penalty.