EAST MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Marlin Lavoie and Malia Kahalewai had four children together. And another family member is hoping the children can stay together, even though tragedy has taken their parents from them.
The two boys and two girls range in age from two to six years old. All four are now in the care of their aunt, Kelly Lavoie.
"It's difficult, I mean, just raising kids on your own is difficult," Lavoie said. 'Before any of this ever happened, they were never really on a regimen or schedule, and it's just getting them accustomed to going to bed at a regular time and sitting down and eating as a family and taking them to school and all the regular things that kids do."
Even with the difficulty, Lavoie said it didn't take her long to decide to take them in. "They just needed a safe place to be at the time, and our house was open, and we'll take them in until we can decide what, as a family, both the Kahalewais and the Lavoie families, what's best for the kids," she said.
Kelly Lavoie is the older sister of Marlin Lavoie, the 33-year-old Molokai man accused of shooting Kahalewai, his girlfriend, in the chest on March 20. Kahalewai died at Molokai General Hospital. Lavoie surrendered to police the day after the shooting and is now being held at OCCC until his trial.
"They're so young that I really don't think they've grasped what has really happened, and we've just let them speak openly and let them say whatever they want," said Kelly Lavoie.
According to court documents, Marlin Lavoie was arrested four days before the shooting, for allegedly attacking Kahalewai in her car. Kelly Lavoie didn't comment on her brother's case, but said, "My brother really loves his children and I don't know what went on. And it can happen in anybody's family, and I'm not to judge, and neither is anybody else out there."
Kelly Lavoie said the families are trying to at least keep the children happy and healthy, and make sure they're loved and taken care of. "Right now we're not aware of the final arrangements for the children and if we'll be able to keep them," she said. "Our hope is that they'll be able to stay together and with family."
Friends and family have opened an account for the four children at American Savings Bank under the name "The Hope Foundation." The account number is 8101632007.