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Intense search for missing 6-year-old enters 4th day with no signs of the child

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:54 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 12:21 PM HST
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WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - An intense, multi-agency search has turned up no signs of a missing 6-year-old Waimanalo girl, who family members say was last seen Sunday night in her home.

On the fourth day of searching for Isabella “Ariel” Kalua, volunteers re-focused their efforts from Waimanalo to Kailua ― hoping to find any trace of her on the beach or in forested areas.

Despite numerous requests, HPD hasn’t released any updates on the case so it’s not clear if they’ve made progress in their investigation. HNN has confirmed that the FBI joined the search Wednesday.

Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic did tell the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday that investigators “haven’t determined or we don’t have sufficient evidence to show that the child was abducted.” He added, “We are hoping she isn’t in immediate danger.”

Meanwhile, the state Department of Education confirmed Thursday that Isabella’s adoptive parents pulled Isabella out of Waimanalo Elementary in June to attend home-school.

Even with few no details on the case, the community is holding onto hope.

On Wednesday, scores of volunteers and members of the girl’s biological family returned to Waimanalo District Park to coordinate efforts and expand their coverage area.

Melanie Joseph, Isabella’s biological mom, said she is grateful for all those volunteering to help. “I’m thankful everyone is here to help,” she said. “I just want whoever has her to bring my baby back home.”

Volunteers, meanwhile, are frantic to find any signs of the girl ― even if it confirms the worst.

“I’m very candid. I don’t sugarcoat nothing,” said one of Isabella’s biological aunt, Alena Kaeo. “Regardless of what the outcome is, we just want to bring her home for some kind of closure.”

In the Honolulu Police Commission meeting, Vanic said he appreciates all those assisting in the search.

“We’re asking that neighbors continue to check for places where they think a small child could hide and also asking them to check their video surveillance if ... they have it,” he added.

Vanic also addressed questions about why no MAILE AMBER Alert was issued following Isabella’s disappearance. Vanic said that’s because the criteria for the alert, which involves abductions, was not met. Her adoptive family reported her missing Monday morning.

Volunteers Ashley and Blake Caporoz, of Makaha, were among those who joined the search Wednesday. They don’t know the family, but wanted to help. “We have a 6-year-old and we would want community help from the other side as well,” Blake Caporoz said.

The two join hundreds of volunteers who have gone out over the past three days ― tying purple ribbons to trees as they go to indicate the area has been covered.

This story will be updated.

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