MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — A former Orange County attorney has been arrested for murdering his ex-wife on a May 2006 cruise and throwing her body overboard.
Lonnie Kocontes, a former resident of Mission Viejo, was arrested at his home in Safety Harbor, Florida.
Kocontes and his ex-wife, then 52-year-old Micki Kanesaki of Ladera Ranch, decided to go on the Italian Riviera cruise to give their relationship one last shot.
Authorities said Kanesaki disappeared the very first night. Her body was found by the Italian Coast Guard the next day, floating in the sea near Naples.
Kocontes at the time said his wife was despondent. All her friends and family said she was upbeat and happy.
He also intimated she might have jumped overboard and committed suicide. But an autopsy revealed Kanesaki had been strangled.
Serene Branson, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said her family never believed the suicide story.
In 2006, and in broken English, the woman’s brother George said, “I feel very sad.” He suspected Lonnie Kocontes all the while.
At the time of his wife’s disappearance, Kocontes was questioned and released, according to Branson. He told authorities his wife went out for some tea and simply failed to return to the cabin.
Her parents told authorities, from the start, that the couple had a rocky relationship.
After a six year marriage they divorced. After he filed to sell their Ladera Ranch home, she was arrested several months later on a domestic violence charge.
The LA Times reported Kanesaki was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier in June 2006.