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Saturday, May 26, 2007

 

Karen Ertell, owner of Koko Crater Coffee Roasters, apparently killed at her home on Friday


The line was always long at Koko Crater Coffee's tent at the KCC Farmers Market -- not only was it the first tent at the entrance, but the coffee was certainly among the best to be found in Honolulu.

But when I arrived today, ready to buy espresso beans for the week, there was no tent, so I asked the Farm Bureau information people where it had moved to. Obviously, it had to have moved, I couldn't imagine they would miss a market day. The news was devastating. Karen Ertell, who owned and operated the business all these years, had been murdered at her home yesterday, I and others who asked were told.

Her pink pickup truck wasn't parked at the market this morning. If you've been to the KCC market, you've probably seen her truck.

A story is in today's Star-Bulletin, Police investigate death of Ewa Beach woman. It certainly looks like foul play since her car was discovered abandoned at Geiger Park.

It's one thing to read in the paper about a shooting someplace on the island and another to hear or read about the probable murder of someone you meet and speak with regularly. I didn't know Karen personally, but she was always there at the market. She knew us by name and was always happy to see us and her other regular customers.

If we ran out of coffee during the week I'd drive over to Koko Crater's little roasting facility where they always were willing to sell me just the tiny amount I needed to hold us until the next market day. Everything about Koko Crater was done the right way, customers first.

I had a lot of trouble completing my shopping list this morning. I can't get Karen's death out of my mind.

Update 1: See story on Karen Ertell in May 27 Star-Bulletin: Break-ins plagued Ewa woman's home: Karen Ertell's generous spirit, busy life is recalled.

Update 2: See story in May 28 Honolulu Advertiser: 'Ewa Beach killing 'very well planned' and May 28 Star-Bulletin: Killing by teen ‘well planned,’ police contend.

Update 3: There have been many more stories, in the local papers, on TV, and in New Zealand papers. To follow them, try this Google search.

Update 4: Ok, one more, which may explain to you why I've followed this story. An excerpt from a letter by Karen's boyfriend that appeared in yesterday's Star-Bulletin:

Karen was a pillar of this community, who had a heart of gold. For many years she used her vacation time to volunteer for the children's cancer camp at Camp Mokuleia, on Oahu's North Shore. She has volunteered for many things in Honolulu, has hired women from the women's prison work program, and high school students on internships -- just to name a few. Karen is the type of person our world needs more of.
Read the full letter here.

From Thursday's Farm Bureau web page:
Please note: Due to the tragic death of Karen Ertell (Koko Crater Coffee Roasters) no coffee drinks will be available at the market for a couple of weeks. Karen's family, however, has vowed to keep her business going and assures us that they will return to the market probably by the end of June. A special memorial tent will be erected this Saturday with family members and employees in attendance. Please join the Farm Bureau in extending our deepest sympathies to Karen's family.


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