Bongak Koja

1
Above: Koja, circa 1997

Bar

Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: June 9, 1997 from Oahu, Hawaii
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth: June 9, 1938
  • Age: 59 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'2, 100 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Asian female. Black hair, brown eyes. Koja wears eyeglasses and dentures. Her nickname is Jackie. She was born in South Korea and moved to the United States in 1962.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A long-sleeved shirt, long pants, white sneakers and a floppy white hat.
  • Bar

    Details of Disappearance

    Koja was last seen in Oahu, Hawaii on June 9, 1997, which was her birthday. She left her home on Mie Place to take her usual early morning walk at 3:00 a.m. She typically walked to California Avenue and a mile past Leilehua High School to the Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission before turning back. She never returned from her walk and has never been heard from again. Koja left behind her four dogs and her husband, who needed her assistance with most daily tasks because he had arthritis.

    Neighbors heard screams in the area at about 4:00 a.m., but they thought it was just rowdy teenagers and did not investigate. At 7:10 a.m., a janitor at Leilehua High School found a substantial amount of blood on a concrete walkway outside a classroom. He believed it was a prank and hosed down the walkway. A witness who saw him cleaning up called the police after hearing Koja was missing, and police searched the area. They found a trail of blood leading to a dumpster behind the school. Koja's headphones and pepper spray can were in a trash can at the school bus stop. A school employee said he found them on the grounds and threw them away. A piece of Koja's dental bridgework was in front of the school, and broken parts of eyeglasses matching Koja's prescription were recovered also.

    On June 12, Frank Janto voluntarily went to the police and said he wanted to discuss Koja's case. He has a substantial prior criminal record, beginning as a juvenile, for offenses such as car theft, child molestation, disorderly conduct and assault. One of his convictions was for beating a 65-year-old Vietnamese woman while she was walking in Honolulu; she was seriously injured and had to be rescued by the police. A photograph of Janto is posted below this case summary. He confessed to attacking Koja while under the influence of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. He said he ambushed her while she was walking, beat her to death and dragged her body to the trash bin. Janto, accompanied by law enforcement officers, went to Leilehua High School and he told them how the murder had taken place. By then, the trash bin had been emptied and its contents had been hauled away and incinerated.

    Janto was convicted of second-degree murder in Koja's case in April 1998. He was sentenced to a minimum of 75 years in prison, which is believed to be the longest minimum sentence the Hawaii parole board has ever handed down. In 2008, Janto was charged in the 1987 death of Rose Chiquita, who was beaten and stabbed to death at a Hilo, Hawaii service station. Both Chiquita and Koja were older women who were attacked while walking alone early in the morning. Authorities noticed similarities in their cases after Janto's conviction in Koja's presumed death. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Chiquita's case in October 2008 and sentenced to life in prison.

    Koja's remains have never been found and are believed to be unrecoverable. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.

    Frank Janto 1990s Frank Janto 2008
    Left: Janto in 1998;
    Right: Janto, circa 2008

    Bar

    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Oahu Police Department
    808-529-3115

    Bar

    Source Information
    The Honolulu Star-Bulletin
    The Honolulu Advertiser
    Hawaii Police Department
    FindLaw

    Bar

    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated November 8, 2008; details of disappearance updated.

    Charley Project Home