H-1 Freeway Shuts Down as Police Investigate Unthinkable Murder

Kraig Hengst
Kraig Hengst
Capt. Frank Fujii
Capt. Frank Fujii

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A section of Oahu's busy H-1 freeway is shut down Thursday after an unthinkable tragedy.

This following a brutal killing on the windward side Wednesday night.

Thursday afternoon, a man is accused of throwing a toddler off a pedestrian overpass onto the freeway below.

It happened around 11:45 in the morning just a couple of miles from the State Capitol and the Queens Medical Center.

The pedestrian overpass is just before the on ramp to the Pali Highway.

The west-bound lanes of the H-1 are back open.

But earlier, this stretch was the scene of a disturbing murder, the kind of case that impacts even the most seasoned investigators emotionally.

A defenseless little boy falls to his death, and the case is classified as a homicide.

"I don't even want to see that no more. I've seen people dead in wars and stuff. But that there, it was horrible," said Johnnie Bruen, a witness.

The victim, wearing a t-shirt and diaper, is believed to be two to three years old. Witnesses say a man tossed the toddler from the Miller Street pedestrian overpass.

"I originally thought he just threw a doll over the overpass. And then I really didn't think that much of it. And then I said to Ryan, and we went over and looked. And obviously, it wasn't a doll," said Kraig Hengst.

Police catch the suspect nearby. Witnesses say he made no real attempt to flee.

"I seen him right here when I was in this apartment. He was across the street smoking a cigarette."

Donning hospital garb, 23-year-old Matthew Higa makes numerous statements as officers take him into custody. Investigators are trying to determine what relationship, if any, he has with the child.

"We're just making sure that nobody is missing a child in the area with regard to businesses that have child care programs or anything like that," said Captain Frank Fuji with the Honolulu Police Department.

Police seal off the west-bound side of the freeway, while they investigate.

"It's a terrible thing. People get like this. This world, I don't know what it's coming to man."

Higa was wearing hospital clothes.

The Queen's Medical Center, which is located near the crime scene, says it didn't have any patients missing.

Police say the suspect, who has 12 prior arrests for minor offenses, is under mental observation at Queens Thursday night.