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Loved ones remain hopeful as search for missing 6-year-old in Waimanalo stretches into third day

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 9:48 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 1:28 PM HST
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WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Loved ones of a missing 6-year-old girl in Waimanalo say that they’re not giving up hope of finding her OK as the FBI joins the intense search on its third day.

Isabella Kalua was last seen Sunday night in her Waimanalo home.

On Wednesday, volunteers and loved ones once again gathered at Waimanalo District Park to coordinate the day’s search as police and the FBI worked separately to follow up on possible leads.

The girl’s biological family members, who call her Ariel, said they remain thankful for the outpouring of support from the community. “We cannot thank them enough for their support,” said biological aunt Jamie Kumai. “Not knowing who we are, who she is. And just being here to help us look for her.”

Isabella Kalua
Isabella Kalua(Hawaii News Now)

She had this message for the public: “If you see something, if you know something, say something.”

Isabelle’s biological aunts say police haven’t provided them with any information about their investigation. It was not clear what information was being shared with the girl’s adoptive family.

“We’re literally just going out and doing absolutely everything we possibly can,” said her Aunt Alena Kaeo. “Everyone’s support is absolutely appreciated.”

Among the army of volunteers assisting with the search are some who just got off of work and felt it was important to help out in any way. “Very sad and if I could do anything to help, or maybe some of my friends or even employees that we could, you know, at least try,” said Jason Green, of Waimanalo.

The HPD is also continuing its search, and confirmed it is working with the FBI.

A police spokesperson on Tuesday declined to say where officers are focusing their efforts, but said they were coordinating with other first responders and volunteers.

In a statement, Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic asked Waimanalo residents to check their home security footage and their yards “for anywhere a young child might go to or be able to hide.”

“We are thankful for the many families and individuals who are helping to search for Isabella, especially the volunteer search captains and their teams,” he said. “It’s obvious that she comes from a caring family and community, and we are hopeful that we will find her soon and find her safe.”

Meanwhile, police say video being shared on social media showing a small person walking down a sidewalk near Oneawa Streeet in Kailua early Monday was not related to the case.

Police haven’t said if foul play is suspected.

The girl was last seen in her Puha Street home around 9 p.m. Sunday.

After she was reported missing Monday, police spent hours searching the area using ATVs, patrol vehicles and dogs. Authorities resumed searching on Tuesday morning.

“It has been devastating, really devastating,” added Kiara Galdeira, another biological aunt. “We just wish we could’ve done more. And we just want her home. I don’t think she would ever wander off.”

Sources told HNN that CPS has taken custody of the missing girl’s siblings as the search continues.

On Monday afternoon, police pleaded with the community to help find Isabella.

Isabella Kalua
Isabella Kalua(Kiara Galdeira)

“Let’s do our part in helping to bring her home,” said Sgt. Chris Kim, of CrimeStoppers. “We need the community. Please rally together to bring 6-year-old Isabella home.”

Kalua is described as being white, about 3-foot-3 and 46 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. Her last known outfit was a black hoodie and leggings, colorful socks and Nikes with pink bottoms.

Kim said the case continues to be classified as a missing persons investigation.

Ronnett Wong, of Waimanalo, was among those who volunteered to help search for Isabella.

“Because I’m a mom and it’s sad that this would happen in our close-knit community,” she said. “We worry about our kids every day.”

Search volunteer Robbie Akana added that she’s “just hoping for the best.”

“I’m just hoping for a safe return. I just hope she’s OK. I know she must be scared,” she said.

Anyone who may have seen Isabella or has information should call 911 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

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