Search underway for missing Waipio Valley hiker

  • Kyle Brittain

KAILUA-KONA — Kyle Brittain is an outdoor lover who has been a hiker since he was 3 years old.

On Friday, he headed out alone to hike the “Z” trail into Waipio Valley, mapping out the trail before embarking. He was last seen about 6:30 a.m. at the lookout.

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The Hawaii County police and fire departments have searched the area; however, if he is not found, search efforts are planned to be suspended today.

Brittain’s father, Steve, a Hilo attorney, said his son is an experienced hiker who at 8 years old was the youngest person to hike the 4,737-foot Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Brittain just completed massage school at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu and was on the Big Island for his father’s wedding. He was house-sitting for his father and his father’s new wife while they went on their honeymoon. Friday was supposed to be Brittain’s last day in Hilo before returning to Honolulu.

Family and friends who came to celebrate a wedding are now returning to the island to continue the search, including a former school mate trained in search and rescue.

“There’s no verification that he ever got to the bottom of the valley,” said Steve Brittain. “It’s a missing person case that potentially involves hiking.”

There are no official scent dogs on the island, but private residents from Waipio Valley offered their canines’ services when the search continues today.

Kyle Brittain is described as 5 feet, 11 inches tall, 145 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.

A GoFundMe account was set up to offset the cost of searching for the missing hiker. More than $10,000 was raised in one day.

A Facebook page, Find Kyle Brittain, also was created to keep the community updated on the search.

A post on the site Tuesday states:

“We’re continuing to pray and hope that Kyle is found soon. As of today, we still don’t have any new developments regarding Kyle’s whereabouts. …

We still can’t thank each and every one of you for your continued efforts and prayers.” …

“There are numerous friends, family and volunteers flying out and contributing their time to help find Kyle,” the posts added. “For those of you that cannot make it out, we ask that you continue to share Kyle’s story with everyone. Every share makes a huge impact.

Mahalo for all of your love. Kyle will be so happy knowing how loved he is.”

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Police ask anyone who might have information about Brittain’s whereabouts or who might have seen or spoken to him to call the Honokaa Police Station at 775-7533 or the department’s nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Email Laura Ruminski at lruminski@westhawaiitoday.com.

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