Parents fighting for justice after child was allegedly abused at military daycare center

A military family says they’re fighting for justice for their child who was allegedly abused at a daycare center at Ford Island.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:08 PM HST|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 10:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A military family says they’re fighting for justice for their child who was allegedly abused at a daycare center at Ford Island.

The incidents happened nine months ago, but two women were charged just a few hours after HNN Investigates contacted authorities.

The child, 2-year-old Bella, is curious and full of energy.

In August of last year, parents Kate and Army Capt. JD Kuykendall ― who live at Ford Island ― noticed a strange bruise on her thigh. Later, they found up to 20 small injuries.

“I was so upset. We went into the ambulance and that’s when we found all the other bruises on her body, her stomach, her face,” said Kate Kuykendall.

The Kuykendalls say their daughter was abused by three different workers at the Child Development Center on Ford Island, part of the Child Youth Program run by the U.S. Navy.

They were able to view 75 hours of video from the Child Development Center and on that video they say their daughter was pinched, slapped, shaken and her hair was pulled.

“You see Isabella reacting to it crying hysterically and any time she’d cry they would inflict more pain,” said Kate Kuykendall.

The alleged abuse happened between Aug. 22 and 24 of last year.

After her parents discovered the incidents, military police and HPD were contacted. But the Kuykendalls say the case went no where for nine months ― so they kept pushing for justice.

After hearing about the case, HNN Investigates contacted the Navy, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and HPD.

That was on Monday morning around 11:30 a.m.

An hour and half later, court documents show two civilian women ― Analyn Natividad De Guzman and Marilyn Demetrio Kanekoa ― were charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor crime.

HNN Investigates asked the Kuykendalls what they thought of the timing.

“If that’s what it takes to take accountability, I’d say that’s unfortunate,” said JD Kuykendall.

“We are borderline happy, but borderline sad, scared and upset. It shouldn’t have taken this long to get to this point,” said Kate Kuykendall.

According to court documents, the two women did “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury” to the child.

Navy spokesman Charles Anthony said all Joint Base Child Youth Program facilities are monitored by security cameras and video of inappropriate behavior can be reviewed by the parents.

“The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Child Youth Program takes the health wellbeing and safety of all of the children in CYP programs very seriously,” he said.

“It is extremely rare, but if any mistreatment is uncovered, immediate corrective actions are taken,” he added.

JD Kuykendall said they’ve been told there are also internal investigations underway.

“hat may be true, but nothing has come of significance to us,” he said.

The family says they’ve been told the workers in question are no longer at the Child Development Center, but it’s unclear what happened to a third person they saw on video allegedly hurting little Bella.

Hawaii News Now was not able to reach the two women for comment. While they were charged, they haven’t been served a court summons and they don’t have public defenders yet.