After a boy's death at the hands of his father, questions — but few answers

After a boy's death at the hands of his father, questions — but few answers
Updated: Jun. 14, 2017 at 5:37 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

PAUOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Domestic violence advocates say the killing of a 7-year-old boy at the hands of his father in Pauoa on Tuesday could have been prevented.

Police say Reef Aikau was stabbed to death by his father, Gerald, who later hanged himself.

Gerald Aikau was legendary waterman Eddie Aikau's nephew.

Court records show Reef Aikau's mother is traveling this summer in Europe on a trip she fought for him to take as well.

The documents also show that Gerald Aikau had a history of family abuse, and that he and his wife, Katherine, were in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle for their son.

Domestic violence experts say it's rare for a parent to kill a child, but it is common for abusers to use their children against a spouse.

"One of the most successful ways of ultimately tormenting your victim is by hurting her child," said Domestic Violence Action Center CEO Nanci Kreidman. "And if that was his intention, he has succeeded."

Dr. Ben Young, a psychiatrist, did not have a doctor-patient relationship with Gerald Aikau, but he is a family friend.

Young said there were "hints" that Aikau might be prone to violence.

"There were conflicts in his life. There were situations that really predicted some terrible, bad outcomes," he said. "But nothing so tragic as this."

Last October, Katherine Aikau filed a report that said her husband had accused her of infidelity, left bruises on her arm, and then knifed their sofa and destroyed everything in their home. And in March, she said in court documents that she believed he was smoking crystal meth again.

Gerarld Aikau also accused his wife of abuse and drug use.

The documents also show that Aikau had refused to let his wife take their son on a summer vacation to Europe.

She went without him and was away when he died.

"I'm terribly, terribly sorry for the Aikau family and their loss of two family members," Kreidman said. "Reef's mother will never recover from the death of her son at the hands of his father."

Police say Reef Aikau's body was discovered in his bedroom, while his father was found dead outside the family's home.

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