California man arrested in Florida in ex-wife’s death

California man arrested in Florida in ex-wife's death (Image 1)
California man arrested in Florida in ex-wife's death (Image 1)

A California man has been arrested in southwest Florida on an outstanding murder warrant in the death of his ex-wife, who went overboard from an Italian cruise ship seven years ago.

Lonnie Kocontes was taken into custody Friday night by federal marshals and booked into the Pasco County Jail, authorities said.

His ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, plunged into the Mediterranean on May 26, 2006, off the Island Escape, which was sailing between Sicily and Naples, according to the FBI. Her body washed ashore the next day in Calabria in southwest Italy.

Kanesaki, 52, was sharing a cabin with Kocontes, her ex-husband. They divorced in 2002 after six years of marriage but continued to live together in their Mission Viejo, Calif., home at least until 2005, court records showed.

Kanesaki left the cabin around 1 a.m. to get a cup of tea, Andy Furlong, a spokesman for Island Cruises, the ship's owner, said at the time. Kocontes, a lawyer, reported her missing after he woke up and couldn't find her after searching the ship, Furlong said.

Italian police boarded the ship, seized records and videotapes and took statements from the crew.

Kanesaki's mother, Setsuko Kanesaki, said her daughter was in good spirits before the trip.

“I can't imagine what happened to her. There's no reason to believe it was a suicide,” she told the Orange County Register in 2006.

It was unclear Saturday whether Kocontes has retained an attorney. A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department said his agency had been informed of the arrest early Saturday.

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