Investigation launched after child falls 12 stories down trash chute

Investigation launched after child falls 12 stories down trash chute
The Towers at Kuhio Park
The Towers at Kuhio Park

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An 8-year-old boy is recovering at the Queen's Medical Center after falling 12 stories down a trash chute Wednesday night.  Honolulu police are investigating whether the incident was accidental or intentional.

Police say they received a call around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday reporting a missing child at the Towers at Kuhio Park, formerly known as Kuhio Park Terrace, in Kalihi.  When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a boy nearly an hour later inside a dumpster and called paramedics.

"It's not confirmed if he got dared to go down or to look inside of it and he did go inside and he fell through," said a woman, whose sister lives in Tower A where the boy and his mother lived on the 12th floor.

"The little boy has down syndrome," the woman described.  "And you know, that kind of makes it more, you know, daring to go down with somebody who doesn't know that much," said the woman, visibly troubled by the incident.

A spokesperson with the company that owns and manages the Towers at Kuhio Park says they were relieved to hear the child is expected to be okay and have reached out to the family.

"We are also helping police in their investigation. We are also conducting our own internal investigation," said Laura Zaner, Vice President of Communications for Michaels Development Company.

According to one resident, the boy's mother had fallen asleep and when she woke up she realized he was missing.

"We were doing citizen patrol and then the mom came and asked us, 'Have you seen my son?' So that's when we started looking for her son," said Imani Lofton.

It's unclear how residents learned the boy was in the trash chute, but they say they attempted to warn others.

"We had to go up all the building - the floors - and tell them to not throw down their trash 'cause he was stuck," explained Mary Ann Tito.

Fire officials say they helped pull the boy from the dumpster once he was located by police.

He was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition.

Police have opened an injury case.

Child Protective Services has been notified.

Patricia McManaman, Director of the Department of Human, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

"The Department of Human Services investigates all cases involving allegations of child abuse or neglect. Hawai'i law, however, prohibits the DHS from providing information related to cases involving child abuse or neglect. As such we can neither confirm nor deny whether this family has had previous contact with our Child Welfare Services Branch."

McManaman says this is a good opportunity to remind all parents and caregivers to keep a watchful eye over their young children.

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