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Missing girl had serious injuries investigated by state in past 2 years

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:30 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 5:55 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Exactly one week after Waimanalo 6-year-old Isabella “Ariel” Kalua was reported missing, her adoptive family sat down with HPD for an extensive interview Monday ― the same day that police announced they were suspending the active search for the little girl.

Attorney William Harrison, who is helping the family, said their interview shows they are cooperating.

Meanwhile, Hawaii News Now has learned that the girl had two serious injuries investigated by Child Welfare Services in the past two years.

In the first incident, in October 2019, she had a broken finger.

There was a delay in the reporting of the injury and a delay in getting her treatment, sources said. Her family said her hand was slammed in a door.

Just four months later, in January 2020, Kalua suffered a broken leg and was taken to the ER. The family said she was injured on a trampoline.

In both cases, a panel of experts determined there was no maltreatment.

But Stephen Lane, a longtime foster parent and child advocate, said the incidents draw suspicion.

“There’s no reasonable explanation why a parent, foster adoptive or natural would delay the treatment or reporting of this kind of an injury,” Lane said.

Kalua was reported missing on Sept. 13 at about 6:30 am.

That afternoon, Child Welfare Services removed her three siblings from the home.

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.

Attorney Randall Rosenberg, who often represents families of children in the foster system, agreed with the decision to take the siblings out of the home quickly “because there’s a safety issue and the explanation of the child’s disappearance is not as satisfactory as we’d want.”

Lane previously said Isabella’s placement in the home in the first place raised red flags.

The man police identify as Kalua’s adoptive father, Isaac Kalua III, has a criminal past.

According to court records, he was convicted 20 years ago on three counts of terroristic threatening and assault. He was sentenced to 5 years probation.

Lane said for this reason, the children should never have been placed in the home to begin with.

“It’s a violation of the Department of Human Services’ foster home parent’s guidelines,” he said.

A CWS spokesperson provided a statement to Hawaii News Now for this story:

The work Child Welfare Services does with families directly impacts lives, so information is typically confidential. Generally, to avoid or prevent further trauma, and acting in a child’s best interest, CWS does not confirm or deny a family’s involvement in services nor provide comment especially where there is involvement with law enforcement or the courts.

The safety and well-being of every child is our top priority. CWS responds to all reports of child abuse or neglect, and we ask the public to assist by reporting what they see and what they hear.

Child Abuse or Neglect Reporting Hotline: 832-5300

Child Trafficking Reporting Hotline: 832-1999

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