Victims' Supporters Shed Light on Domestic Violence

Maile Badajos
Maile Badajos
Damon Pavao
Damon Pavao
Diamond Badajos
Diamond Badajos

HAWAII STATE CAPITOL (KHNL) -- A rally at the state Capitol Tuesday night called for tougher laws to prevent domestic and criminal violence. This after two tragic deaths last week stunned people across the state. Families of the two victims -- Cyrus Belt and Janel Tupuola -- joined hundreds of supporters.

And a makeshift vigil for Baby Cyrus at the Miller Street overpass above the H-1 Freeway continued to grow. It was moved to the mauka end of the bridge on Saturday because of traffic concerns, but the outpouring of support means the vigil is once again visible from the H-1. And earlier Tuesday night, hundreds showed up at the state Capitol to show support for the victims and their families.

About three hundred marched for two people who were killed last week. They rallied for Cyrus Belt, the baby who was thrown from a freeway overpass, and Janel Tupuola, the woman who was bludgeoned to death in Kailua.

"We're not going to sit back and and fade out in the background," said Maile Badajos, Tupuola's mother. "That's forgetting her. This way we can always remember Janel."

Organizers wanted to call attention to the problem of domestic violence and criminal violence in our state.

"Just remember my sister and the caring person that she was," said Damon Pavao, Tupuola's brother. "It's not so much mourning her death, but remembering her life."

As the sun set over the Capitol, the rally turned into a candlelight vigil.

Families and strangers came to honor the victims, and make sure they're not forgotten. Tupuola's family remembers her strength.

"I know she touched everybody and all she wanted to do was be a friend and a role model to everybody who always needed her," said Diamond Badajos, Tupuola's niece. "She was always there and just to see everyone responding so well, it just breaks my heart."

They urge domestic violence victims to find the courage to talk to someone.

"I think domestic violence in the end hurts everybody else, too, and not just the victims," said Diamond Badajos. "So, just to always get help. Don't be afraid."

Janel's family and friends miss their beacon of light.

"A true friend, a hero, a role model," said Diamond Badajos. "Just thanks and we all want to follow in your footsteps and live out all your dreams."

And one of Tupuola's dreams was to open up a domestic abuse center. They hope her legacy lives on through that shelter.

As far as the makeshift vigil for Baby Cyrus, the department of transportation has no immediate plans to remove it. But they have contacted local charities, in the hopes of eventually donating the toys and stuffed animals well-wishers have left behind.