On 1-year anniversary, family still seeks answers in Charli Scott's disappearance
MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brooke Scott found out she was pregnant two months after her sister Charli, whose son Joshua would now be 8-months-old.
"It's both of them that I think of when I'm enjoying something that Devlin's doing, but it really vividly is Joshua that I kind of flash and wonder about pretty constantly when I'm looking at Devlin. I think about Joshua a lot. I just started working a couple days ago and it was like the first time I realized that me and Charli were supposed to be able to watch each other's children so we'd be able to go to work. It's definitely times like that - that I really - it just seems impossible that this could be reality," Brooke said, leaning down to kiss Devlin on the top of his head.
Her son Devlin is named after two of the officers who dedicated countless hours to searching for her sister when she vanished on Maui, one year ago today.
"Devlin's a part of everything, everything right? I wanted him to be a positive part of it, 'cause when I tell him everything someday -- it's pretty sad and it's a lot to weigh on somebody, so I wanted him to take some of the strength and some of the good part from it. Those two officers who helped were probably the most impactful and probably some of the positive things to come out of this year," Brooke explained.
27-year-old Charli Scott went missing one year ago Monday. The mother-to-be was five-months pregnant when she ventured out to give her ex-boyfriend a ride home after his car allegedly broke down along the Hana Highway.
Hundreds of people volunteered to search for Charli in the weeks and months after she disappeared. Early on, suspicion fell on the ex-boyfriend, Steven Capobianco -- the father of her unborn child and the last person to have seen her before she vanished. Days after Scott went missing, her torched car was discovered, but there were no signs of Charli. One by one clues began popping up -- first, the clothes she was wearing the night she disappeared. Then, a jawbone. By March, Maui police had reclassified the case as a homicide.
In July, 25-year-old Capobianco was indicted for second-degree murder and arson, but the charges only relate to Charli's death, not Joshua's -- something the Scott family wants to see changed.
"We all know that Joshua was the reason that Charli was murdered. He was the whole crux of the whole thing, and the concept that he can be so ignored by the law and justice is really, really one of the hardest things to swallow in all of this," said Kimberlyn Scott, Charli's mother. "When they told me that my daughter was dead, they did not say, 'And your grandson is dead'. They couldn't even address my grandson and that's a really big hole. That's a horrible thing," said Kimberlyn.
Prior to resigning from office due to health complications, Maui representative Mele Carroll worked with the family to write a feticide bill that would make it illegal for someone to kill an unborn baby -- either intentionally or in the commission of a felony. A maternal exception still protects a woman's right to choose and would prohibit a mother from being charged if she sought an abortion.
"If you were to consider that reproductive rights are a coin -- we have abortion rights on one side and on the other side we have feticide laws. Abortion laws protect a woman's right to choose to have an abortion and a feticide law protects a woman's right to give birth," explained Brooke.
"I don't see how any rational person could say that any person should have the right to end a woman's pregnancy, which is literally where we're at right now in Hawaii. A woman or a doctor can be prosecuted for having an unlawful abortion, but for instance what Steven did to my sister -- it's just not punishable. That's pretty incredible to me that we actually have laws that would punish a pregnant woman for harming her on fetus, but not the third party. That's the definition of injustice. That really has to change," said Brooke.
Kimberlyn and Brooke are certain the feticide law is what Charli would have wanted.
"I think she would've demanded it, honestly. I think she would've demanded something to change. If she had to go through this, better she be the last to go through it and lose a child that goes unacknowledged by the law. Better that she be the one that makes the difference," said Kimberlyn.
38 other states have feticide laws. The Scotts understand that even if House Bill 1234 passes this legislative session, it will have no impact on Charli's case.
"Even knowing that nothing that we do for Charli with this legislation will have any impact on her case whatsoever. Even knowing that, we're doing this because we love the community that loved us and we're just really hoping that they trust us enough and still care enough about this subject to stand up and fight. We are going to have to make noise to see this change," said Kimberlyn.
"I've thought about what if this happens to somebody else before this law passes that would actually drive me crazy -- that would really break my heart. There's no reason to not enact it and make sure in case - it might prevent something. Maybe, it will never happen again -- that would be wonderful, but this hesitating. I just don't want anything else to happen," said Brooke.
The Scotts are still searching for the rest of Charli's remains.
"There were things I hoped Charli knew when she closed her eyes for that last time. It gives me a little bit of comfort to think that yeah, she would've known -- it would've been a voice in her head, maybe the last that she heard -- that we're coming and we will fight and we will do everything we can to change what is and to make it better if we can't and to find you," said Kimberlyn.
Each day, the family seeks happiness where they can.
"He brings all the joy. He holds all of it," said Brooke, bouncing a smiling Devlin on her lap.
"It's impossible to look at him and not see a shadow behind him - that there was supposed to be two. There was supposed to be Joshua," said Kimberlyn.
Brooke says the toughest moments are when she's happy.
"Anytime I'm happy," Brooke said, looking down at her son. "Devlin looks at her picture a lot. That's kind of cool. Babies can tell when something is beautiful too, and he just stares up at her picture and stuff. I know he at least knows what she looks like and everything."
"When he's old enough. I will tell him the truth of what happened but he's going to grow up knowing that his Aunty is a magical person who had to go because she was just too magical. I don't know, I guess that's what I'll tell him for now," Brooke said, planting another kiss on Devlin's head.
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