Dateline: Unforgettable is reexamining the murder of Micki Kanesaki, who was killed by her ex-husband, Lonnie Kocontes, for financial gain in 2006.
On May 28, 2006, the body of 52-year-old Micki Kanesaki was found floating in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Paola, Italy.
She had been strangled and pushed off a cruise ship. The killer may have got away with it had he chosen a different method of murder. Because Kanesaki was strangled before she landed in the water, her lungs were full of air, not water, so she floated, which allowed her body to be discovered.
Kanesaki had met lawyer Kocontes in a Los Angeles legal firm where they both worked. They married in 1995, but the relationship soon ran into trouble, and they officially divorced in 2002. However, the pair continued living together in Ladera Ranch, California.
Kocontes met Amy Nguyen through a dating website and, unbeknown to Kanesaki, married her in Las Vegas in 2005. Kocontes then demanded the Ladera Ranch be sold with the money split between himself and his ex-wife.
But, Kanesaki refused to sell, claiming she had paid off the mortgage, so it was her home. Kocontes let the matter rest and continued to live in the house with his ex-wife.
But then he hatched a plan to murder his ex-wife and pocket the money from the sale of the house. He booked a budget Mediterranean cruise for the couple, ensuring their cabin had a balcony.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
Lonnie Kocontes hoped to profit from Micki Kanesaki killing
In the meantime, Kocontes drew up new wills for both himself and Kanesaki, where they each received all assets in the event of one of their deaths. The killer also told his secret wife, Nguyen, that he still loved her and he planned to murder Kanesaki.
Nguyen later told the cops that Kocontes said his friend, former police officer Bill Price, and his partner would go on the cruise with Kocontes and Kanesaki. The plan was for Price to murder Kanesaki and provide Kocontes with an alibi.
Unfortunately for Kocontes, Price pulled out of the cruise, leaving the killer to do his own dirty work. In the early hours of May 26, 2006, Kocontes told the crew he woke up to find Kanesaki missing.
He later told the authorities that his ex-wife had been drinking wine and must have become disorientated and fallen overboard. He also claimed the pair had been on the cruise to repair their broken marriage.
However, Kocontes’s sickening plan came apart when an Italian research vessel found Kanesaki’s remains, and an autopsy showed she had been murdered.
Lonnie Kocontes sentenced to life for Micki Kanesaki murder
Both Price and Nguyen eventually turned against Kocontes, implicating him in the murder. In September 2020, Kocontes was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
After the sentencing, Kanesaki’s brother, Toshi Kanesaki, called Kocontes a cold-blooded killer, a sociopath, and a “vicious, cruel, evil person.” He added, “You are rotten to the core. I never want to see you again.”
Dateline: Unforgettable airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.