Kona child’s death being investigated as suspicious

  • TOM HASSLINGER/West Hawaii Today

    Police are investigating the death of 6-year-old boy who died on Wednesday. According to authorities, the boy was found unconscious somewhere outside his home at an apartment complex on the 74-900 block of Manawalea Street in Kailua-Kona.

KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Island police are investigating the suspicious death of a 6-year-old boy after the child died Wednesday evening.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Halloween, Kona patrol officers responded to a call at the Kailua Fire Station involving a 6-year-old male who was brought there by family members while unconscious. The child was reportedly involved in an incident at the La‘ilani Apartment complex on Manawalea Street in Kailua-Kona.

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Police Capt. Chad Basque said the boy was found somewhere unconscious outside his residence. He wouldn’t clarify how far from his home he was located, although neighbors said he was found near a pavilion in the apartment complex’s yard. The pavilion sits about 50 yards away from the family’s unit.

Police don’t think the boy was trick-or-treating at the time.

The child was taken from the Kailua Fire Station to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 5:30 p.m.

Injuries sustained by the child were not consistent with an accident, according to authorities. An autopsy was ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Basque was unable to comment about the nature of the boy’s injuries.

“It’s so early yet in the investigation I don’t want to say anything,” he said. “We’re still looking for a lot of evidence.”

Neighbors at the apartment described the family as friendly and quiet, who kept to themselves.

One neighbor, who lived above the family, said the mother of the deceased child came to his apartment after the incident and said her child was choked.

Wade, who declined to give his last name, said his neighbor described the attacker as a stranger who wasn’t from around the apartment complex, who was wearing a black sweater.

“She was hysterical,” he said.

He wasn’t on a first-name basis with the family but described them as friendly, having lived above them for about a year. He said he walked around with police officers looking for the suspect later that evening.

“All they knew is he was wearing a black sweater,” he said. “It’s Halloween, everyone was wearing a black sweater.”

Some neighborhood kids said they knew the child, a twin, as a first-grader at Kealakehe Elementary School, but the twins often played and stuck with themselves.

C.J. Phillip, a seventh-grader at Kealakehe Intermediate School, said he knew the family in passing and would say hi to them when they took out the trash. He learned about the death at school.

“We were praying for them during period five,” he said.

Detectives from the Hawaii Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Division are continuing their investigation into the child’s death.

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“We are looking for witnesses,” said Lt. Roylen Valera with the Criminal Investigations Division. “It doesn’t matter how big or how small of a tidbit they might have, we’d still like to talk story.”

Police are asking witnesses who were in the area of the apartment complex and might have witnessed a commotion to contact Detective Jerome Manuel at 326-4646, ext. 262, or via email at jerome.manuel@hawaiicounty.gov, or call the department’s nonemergency number at 935-3311.

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