Midlothian woman killed in Hawaii plane crash

Midlothian woman killed in Hawaii plane crash

HONOLULU, HI (WWBT/KHNL) - A well known and well loved Midlothian woman was killed in a small plane crash in Hawaii.

Heather Riley graduated from Midlothian High School in 2007 and had been living in Hawaii for several years.

On Friday, during a sunset plane ride with her boyfriend and two others, the plane went missing. When it was discovered on Saturday, authorities found it crashed into a mountain with everyone on board dead.

One of Riley's high school friends could barely get words out when trying to talk about her life.

"I know you're listening right now. I mean, Heather..." said Christopher McPhail, who graduated with Riley from Midlothian High School.

McPhail says Riley was quickly on the path to success but wanted an adventure and a new challenge, so she moved to Hawaii about six years ago. McPhail says wherever she was, she was bound for success.

"Heather's always been someone to me that has a very bright future.  She's always someone that, when you're in the room, you know that she's destined for something bigger," said McPhail. "I just expected her to change the world."

It was morning in Hawaii on Saturday when the plane Riley, her boyfriend, and two others were in, was reported missing.

"The wreckage was in an area that was very remote and inaccessible by vehicle," said Craig Uchimura, Battalion Chief with the Honolulu Fire Department.

Five hours after the plane was reported missing, it was found.

"Our rescue personnel had to repel off our air 1 helicopter to be inserted on the mountain side. It's pretty treacherous up there," said Uchimura

Now we are learning from Riley's Hawaiian friends that she was not originally going to be on that plane.

"Alexis asked my boyfriend and I [sic] to go on the plane with them on Friday, and we weren't able to make it. So Heather and Gerrit were asked to take our place," said Lealyn Toponi, Riley's friend.

This investigation now takes a strange turn. The owner of the plane is a man named Jahn Mueller. According to official records, Mueller also owned another plane that crashed in Hawaii almost exactly one month ago. The pilot and two passengers were seriously injured in that crash.

Mueller declined to comment about this crash that killed Riley, her boyfriend, and two others. Riley's family also declined to comment.


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