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Former Orange County attorney arrested in 2006 death of ex-wife

February 16, 2013 |  9:54 am

A former Orange County attorney has been arrested on suspicion of killing his ex-wife while on a weeklong cruise along the Italian coast seven years ago.

Lonnie Kocontes, a former Mission Viejo resident, was arrested at his home in Safety Harbor, Fla., authorities said. The FBI is spearheading the investigation with help from the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Kocontes is suspected of killing his ex-wife, Micki Kanesaki, 52, of Ladera Ranch. Kanesaki disappeared on May 26, 2006, the couple's first night on a romantic getaway cruise intended to rekindle a failed marriage.

Her body was found the next day by the Italian coast guard, floating in the sea near Reggio di Calabria.

"I wish I knew what happened," Kocontes was quoted as saying at the time. He told authorities that his former wife had previously talked of suicide.

But an autopsy revealed Kanesaki had been strangled, authorities said.

At the time, Kocontes told authorities that the couple had retired to bed that first night. He said about 1 a.m., Kanesaki stepped out to get a cup of tea to help her relax and never returned.

The couple were in the midst of a court battle when they decided to put aside their rancor and take a Mediterranean vacation.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

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