When Micki Kanesaki boarded the Island Escape for a breathtaking Italian cruise, she believed she was rekindling her romance with ex-husband Lonnie Kocontes.
But the trip would cost her life.
Micki disappeared from the boat on May 26, 2006, according to Oxygen’s Dateline: Unforgettable. It could have been a tragic accident or a decision by Micki to take her own life, but after her body was discovered the next day floating in the Mediterranean Sea, a medical examiner would reach a chilling conclusion: The 52-year-old had been murdered.
To bring the murderer to justice, however, would take years and involve an investigation that used undercover tactics and relied on help from some unexpected sources.
Who was Micki Kanesaki?
Micki Kanesaki’s trip on another boat decades earlier had completely transformed her life. In 1960, Micki traveled from Japan with her family to their new home in the United States.
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“Micki was maybe 5 or 6 and I was 8,” her brother Toshi Kanesaki recalled. “I think when you’re that young, we’re here in this strange country, but it’s kind of fun and exciting.”
As an adult, Micki went on to work as a secretary at a high-powered law firm in Los Angeles.
”Micki was smart, beautiful, had a great sense of humor,” her coworker Susan White recalled.
It was at the law firm that Micki met “fireball” attorney Lonnie Kocontes and a romance blossomed. The couple bought a house together in Orange County, California and got married in 1995.
“He was charming. She definitely thought that,” her niece Julie Saranita told Dateline reporter Josh Mankiewicz. “I think she liked that he had similar interests, that he was a hard worker and she appreciated that.”