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As search for missing 6-year-old continues, police say many ‘unanswered questions’ remain

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 2:27 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:16 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police on Friday said they can’t rule out foul play in the disappearance of 6-year-old Isabella “Ariel” Kalua because many “unanswered questions” remain.

Meanwhile, HPD Lt. Deena Thoemmes said in a news briefing that a multi-agency search for the girl would continue for an undetermined period of time, including in and around a canal area near Bellows beach where a plastic bag of what witnesses described as toys and personal belongings was found.

“It is too premature to say whether the items are related to this investigation,” Thoemmes said. “Currently, the Honolulu Fire Department search time is assisting us in searching the canal for any other possible items or other pieces of evidence that we believe may be related.”

She also addressed why foul play hasn’t been ruled out as the investigation continues.

“There’s so much things that we need to find answers to,” she said.

“I think if more of the people who know the child, know the family, even the family members come forward and give us a statement or share their side of anything that has to do with Isabella then I think maybe we could rule it (foul play) out, but at this time we can’t.”

Friday was the fifth day of the search for Isabella. And despite multiple agencies and an army of volunteers looking for the Waimanalo girl, there has been no sign of her.

Earlier on Friday, Isabella’s adoptive family said through a lawyer that they were fully cooperating with the police ― disputing claims from HPD that some family members were not cooperative.

Attorney William Harrison also 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.”

The family, he said, had received online death threats since Isabella was reported missing.

“They have given multiple statements to authorities and have agreed to meet with and give an additional recorded statement,” he said, adding the family has “not given up hope.”

“This is a loving family,” said Harrison, who is a family friend.

Isabella "Ariel" Kalua, 6, was reported missing Monday.
Isabella "Ariel" Kalua, 6, was reported missing Monday.

He said the family consented to the search of their home and answered all police questions.

He also said electronic locks on the house confirm when Isabella left the home, that she had a history of going outside at night to sleep in the yard, and that the family home-schooled their adopted children due to concerns about COVID ― not to hide abuse.

“The family is devastated by the loss of Isabella there have been, believe it or not, death threats to the family through social media ... and both the police and I have told them not to comment,” he said.

“They’ve been targets of people out there who claim that they have done things. I’ve been with the Kaluas when they’ve been with their kids and there is nothing like that going on.”

Isabella’s biological family has been a significant presence in the search for her.

On Friday, biological aunt Jamie Kumai said they’re “not pointing fingers.”

“We do see red flags, but we’ve never once said anything bad on the media about the family,” she said.

Lana Idao, another biological aunt, said they’ll keep searching ― for as long as it takes.

“Today, all we can do is keep going out there and keep looking. That’s all we can do,” she said.

This story will be updated.

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