State authorities identify Kalapana woman as suspect in Mauna Ke - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State authorities identify Kalapana woman as suspect in Mauna Kea graffiti case

(Image: DLNR) (Image: DLNR)
(Image: DLNR) (Image: DLNR)
MAUNA KEA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) -

State law enforcement officers say tips from the Native Hawaiian community have helped them identify a Hawaii Island woman as the primary suspect in a recent case of graffiti damage found atop Mauna Kea. 

A spokesperson with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources says Kalapana resident Hope Cermelj was given a criminal citation for her alleged role in the  case.

She'll be required to appear in Hilo District Court as a result of the citation.

A criminal investigation was opened last month after graffiti was found on portions of the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve.

Several rocks had been tagged, as had structures belonging to the Office of Mauna Kea Management.

Photos provided by the DLNR from the scene showed the words "stop bombing" spray painted on some rocks. 

Earlier this week, the president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou said the method of Cermelj's protest wasn't the correct way to voice concerns.

"The messaging is in support of stopping the bombing, so we don't necessarily have a problem with the messaging, but we have a problem with the method," Kealoha Pisciotta said. "Mauna Kea is a temple, Mauna Kea is a place of worship and a burial ground, and this kind of activity disrespects the realm and importance of Mauna Kea." 

Because the area is considered sacred and historically important, the geological features, including rocks, are protected under the Hawaii Administrative Rules. 

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