Thursday, March 30, 2023|
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MARY ANN CORTEZ
Police have arrested and charged a 56-year-old Puna woman for first-degree custodial interference stemming from a November 2021 investigation involving the woman’s adult daughter and four-year-old grandson.
Mary Ann Cortez was arrested in Hilo on Thursday after hiding her grandson to prevent him from being placed in the care of the Department of Human Services, which has legal guardianship of the child.
Cortez’s 31-year-old daughter, Marina Cortez, has been wanted for custodial interference and for an outstanding family court warrant since she failed to relinquish her son to DHS, who obtained custody of the child through court action.
Police were notified on Thursday that Marina Cortez had been admitted as a Jane Doe to the Hilo Medical Center on May 24. With assistance from Puna patrol officers and tips from the public, the child was located in good health in Puna with Mary Ann Cortez and placed into the care of DHS. Police say Mary Ann Cortez was clearly aware that DHS is the legal guardian of the child and that she deceived detectives in order to hide the child from being placed into the care of DHS.
Mary Ann Cortez made her initial court appearance Friday on the Class C felony custodial interference charge. Hilo District Judge Bruce Larson ordered Cortez to return for a preliminary hearing on June 15 and released her on her own recognizance.
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