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Man charged in 3-year-old's death


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Police have charged a 37-year-old Waimea man with manslaughter after a 3-year-old niece left in his care died under allegedly suspicious circumstances.

Fire Rescue personnel responded Friday night to a report of a girl found unconscious at home with labored breathing. They took the girl to North Hawaii Community Hospital, and doctors notified police after discovering suspicious bruising on her body.

Police arrested Ezekiel Ramzey Wakinekona at 9:15 p.m. at the hospital for suspicion of domestic abuse. The girl's two sisters, ages 2 and 6, were taken into protective custody. Wakinekona was taken to the Kona police cellblock while Juvenile Aid Section detectives continued to investigate.

Later Friday night, the injured girl, Marley Makanani of Waimea, was flown to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children on Oahu. She was pronounced dead Sunday at 5:14 p.m.

At 8:20 p.m. Sunday, police charged Wakinekona with manslaughter for the death of the child and with two counts of domestic abuse for injuries found on the children taken into protective custody. His bail was set at $60,000. He was held in the cellblock pending his initial court appearance Tuesday.

According to court records, Wakinekona has 10 prior convictions, none for felonies, dating back to 1993. He was convicted in 1993 of misdemeanor assault, and sentenced in Hilo District Court to six months probation and 50 hours community service. A state Department of Human Services spokeswoman said Tuesday night that Child Welfare Service is investigating.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-