State had HPD wellness-check done on Diamond Head landlord after elder abuse allegation

Always Investigating

A visiting friend of Diamond Head-area landlord Lois Cain was so concerned about resident Jerry Hanel’s treatment of Cain that she alerted authorities alleging elder abuse. The state Department of Human Services alerted the Honolulu Police Department, and a wellness check was done that same day.

A friend of Cain, owner of the home at 3015 Hibiscus Drive, called the state DHS Adult Protective Services (APS) division on Dec. 30, alleging psychological abuse by Hanel, who had been living for about a decade in the home’s downstairs unit in exchange for property caretaking.

DHS tells Always Investigating: “Based on the information the caller provided, the landlord did not meet the standards required by law for being considered a vulnerable adult. Hawaii state law defines a vulnerable adult as a person who is 18 years or older with a mental, developmental or physical impairment who is also unable to: 1) communicate or make responsible decisions to manage his or her own care or resources; 2) carry out or arrange for essential activities of daily living; or 3) protect oneself from abuse.”

But despite the vulnerable-adult standard not being met, DHS made a referral to police, who followed up immediately.

“In the abundance of caution, APS contacted HPD to perform a wellness check on the landlord. That same day, HPD confirmed with APS that an officer conducted the wellness check,” DHS said. “After Dec. 30, 2019, there were no follow-up reports received by APS regarding the landlord.”

DHS says even though the landlord, in this case, was not found to be elder abused as of December, they urge anyone with concerns about a vulnerable adult to call 911 or their Adult Protective Services intake hotline (808) 832-5115.

Hanel is suspected of possibly beating Cain on Sunday in his unit, stabbing a neighbor who tried to intervene, fatally shooting two responding HPD officers, then starting a fire that burned down Cain’s home and 6 more nearby. Hanel and Cain are presumed to be the two whose human remains were found in the ashes Tuesday and are currently pending formal identification at the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office.

In other updates from the scene, investigators have not confirmed what kind of firearm was used, but questions remain how Hanel got a gun and the ammunition that police say continued to pop in the blaze after the police shootings.

Lawmakers say they’re looking at a range of gun safety measures. One would tie gun registration databases with stolen-weapon and other crime records to catch guns in the black market. Another measure would require registration for ammunition, not just firearms.

“There’s absolutely the need to make sure there’s tracking of the databases of who owns guns, and what happens to those guns when someone passes away or leaves the state,” said Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the House Judiciary Committee. “Suddenly you have weapons left behind with someone who wasn’t originally the owner. there are definitely still loopholes that allow people to get and acquire firearms. We should be looking and making sure there are checks and requirements in place that prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

Lawmakers also want to look at mental health red-flag bills.

A measure by Sen. Karl Rhoads (SB 2631) gives judges an option to refer a defendant to a mental health evaluation, including in restraining order cases.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories