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In rally outside Child Welfare Services office, community members ask, ‘Where’s Isabella?’

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:34 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 6, 2021 at 7:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s now been more than three weeks since Isabella “Ariel” Kalua went missing from her Waimanalo home.

The Honolulu Police Department has stopped actively searching for the 6-year-old, but members of the community aren’t giving up hope.

The group “Protect Our Keiki” organized a rally Wednesday afternoon to put pressure on authorities to not ease up on the investigation and ensure Isabella isn’t forgotten.

And “Where’s Isabella?” isn’t their only question.

“Why stop searching?” said Allison Herman, who was among those to attend the rally.

“Why did we stop searching? She deserves the attention that your own child deserves. Would you stop searching for your own child? Would you stop searching?”

The event was held outside of the state’s Department of Human Services-Child Welfare Services office in Kalihi. Participants say the state didn’t do enough to properly vet the Kalua family.

The man police identify as Kalua’s adoptive father, Isaac Kalua III, has a criminal record including charges of terroristic threatening and assault from 20 years ago.

Members of Isabella’s biological family also question the state’s actions.

“There’s a five-year background check for Hawaii and as people are doing their own investigations, they’re seeing a lot of history of other foster families and how could they have gotten the kids also,” said Isabella’s biological aunt, Lana Idao.

In a statement submitted to Hawaii News Now, DHS said its understands the community’s sadness and frustration, adding a prior conviction does not automatically disqualify someone from becoming a foster parent.

Furthermore, DHS said it cannot comment on specific cases “especially where there may also be involvement with law enforcement or the courts. "

The Honolulu Police Department said Wednesday while their active search efforts have ceased, the investigation into Isabella’s disappearance continues with interviews and evidence processing.

“We’re doing whatever we can to just keep out there and try to find her,” Idao said. “Whether it’s with them or not, but any information, if anyone comes with information, call Crimestoppers so they can go out and look and check. We just want to bring her home already.”

The biological family plans to hold a community rally this Friday in Waimanalo.

A spokesperson for the Kaluas says they have no comment on the event, but their attorney has said they are devastated by her disappearance and hope the courts will order the state to return Isabella’s siblings to their care.

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