After a mom is fatally beaten in the street, a community comes together to mourn — and heal

Makaha community organized vigil for mother who was allegedly beaten to death by her teenage son.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 10:35 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 3:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Makaha residents gathered Monday night for a vigil to remember the mother who was fatally beaten to death in the middle of a roadway — allegedly by her son.

The vigil for 38-year-old Michelle McPeek began on the ocean side of Farrington Highway near Upena Street in Makaha.

Several people spoke, including lawmakers and friends.

There were also about a dozen priests at the vigil as Shimabukuro said McPeek is the daughter of an episcopal priest.

The group then gathered at Keeau Beach Park to release flowers into the ocean.

Kuulei Lincoln, who has known McPeek for 15 years, said she was a mom of seven.

“She was a very lovely person,” said Lincoln. “She loved her kids, she did everything for her kids.”

Evanna Graham, who has been friends with Michelle for nearly 10 years, says she looked up to her as a mother figure. “She would always be there for advice,” said Graham.

“Or like if something’s not going right, she would talk us out of it.”

Lincoln and Graham are still shaken by her tragic death.

McPeek was allegedly killed by her 19-year-old son Joshua McPeek.

“I was in shock and still in shock,” said Lincoln. “And out of respect for my best friend all she would want is just the best for her kids.”

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said Joshua McPeek was in Youth Challenge.

The lawmaker hopes this tragedy can turn into making resources available for troubled youth.

“There’s $20 million in the budget for in-community youth services, really focusing on that, how can we find what they need,” said Shimabukuro.

“$14 million for Youth Challenge Academy, which is a fantastic program that Joshua attended.”

Meanwhile, residents living near Upena street are focused on bringing back their neighborhood watch group. “It’s never good, anything after midnight,” said Dominique Unr, of Makaha. “Just make the phone call, protect your neighborhood, your friends, your family, your kids.”

“I think that’s just where we’re at as a neighborhood now.”

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