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Attorney: Missing girl’s adoptive family ‘fully cooperative’ with police

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:25 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 2:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The attorney for the adoptive family of missing 6-year-old Isabella “Ariel” Kalua says they are being “fully cooperative” with police and have been advised not to participate in the search for the girl because of online death threats made against them.

Attorney William Harrison said the Kalua family is remaining in their home rather than getting involved in ongoing search efforts “so as not to detract from the efforts and for safety concerns.”

In a lengthy statement issued Friday morning, Harrison also said the family “consented to a full all-day search of their residence, retrieval of electronic data from home cameras and door equipment.”

“They have given multiple statements to authorities and have agreed to meet with and give an additional recorded statement,” he said, pushing back against statements HPD made Thursday that indicated family members and acquaintances of the girls were not fully cooperating.

Harrison added the family is “extremely grieved by the situation and have not given up hope.”

Authorities and volunteers have been searching for Isabella for five days, since she was reported missing on Monday morning. Despite the massive, multi-agency effort, there has been no sign of her.

Officials confirmed they were investigating the contents of a bag found in a canal near Bellows Beach on Thursday afternoon, but said it was not yet clear whether the items belonged to Isabella.

Witnesses said the bag appeared to include toys and other personal items.

Meanwhile, authorities said Thursday afternoon they haven’t ruled out foul play in the case.

They also said some family members and acquaintances are not cooperating with the investigation.

“We have conducted numerous interviews; however, there are still individuals, to include acquaintances and family members, who have yet to come forward to be interviewed,” Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Deena Thoemmes said, in the statement.

“We hope that this will change in the near future as the investigation and search for Isabella continues.”

HNN has asked HPD repeatedly for an interview on the latest with the case.

Isabella was reported missing Monday, prompting a search that has progressively widened by the day. Her adoptive parents told police she was last seen sleeping in her Puha Street home on Sunday night.

Earlier Thursday, dozens of volunteers and biological family members searched for Isabella at Waimanalo District Park but expanded their focus area to include Kailua shorelines.

Police are also continuing to conduct searches of their own. They’re getting assistance from multiple agencies, including the FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

As each day passes with no sign of the girl, volunteers assisting with the search said it gets more difficult to hold onto hope that she’ll be found OK.

“We’re very emotionally drained. We’re trying to all hold it together,” said Alena Kaeo, one of Isabella’s biological aunts who is helping with the search. “It’s been tough. It’s been really tough.

“But that’s not going to stop us from going until we get some kind of answer.”

The decision to refocus volunteer search efforts wasn’t based on any strong information or leads.

Scores of volunteers have joined police in the increasingly frantic search for missing...
Scores of volunteers have joined police in the increasingly frantic search for missing 6-year-old Isabella Kalua, last seen Sunday night in her Waimanalo home.

Searchers are hoping they’ll get lucky, checking storm drains and bushes for anything that could lead them to Isabella.

“We don’t know if she’s hurt,” said volunteer Colette Galves.

“We’re trying not to think the worst but as every moment that goes by and there’s no sign of Isabella or other clues it’s hard not to think the worst.”

But the army of helpers is also dedicated to helping.

“I’ve been in California grass taller than me, eaten by mosquitoes, cuts, bruises,” said volunteer Tehani Alo, “anything to help this girl.”

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