HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has been nearly a month since Isabella Kalua — also known as Ariel Sellers — has been missing. The six-year-old was last seen on Sunday, Sept. 12, and family members said there are still more questions than answers related to her case.
The girl’s biological aunt Alena Kaeo said they continue to get tips about her possible location, and they remain hopeful for any real clues about her disappearance.
Kaeo said, “We do go and look into them, but again nothing solid at this point.”
Isabella was last seen by her adoptive parents on the night of Sept. 12, and they said she was sleeping in her room. The first week of her search drew in dozens of people to Waimanalo where they supported several law enforcement agencies with the search. Weeks later, family members and smaller groups of neighbors continued their search, but their hope has turned more into a need for closure.
“I don’t want to think that way but so much time having passed,” Kaeo said. “It’s hard to have the hope that she may still be able to come home alive, but we pray that’s the case every day.”
Police continue to investigate Isabella’s disappearance, but the family is growing frustrated with the lack of developments on the case.
On Wednesday, Oct. 6, a rally in front of the Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS) offices drew a handful of people. It was not a rally planned by the family, but some family members showed up to support.
“Everybody is wanting answers, why?” Isabella’s aunt Lana Idao said. “So, I guess to put pressure, where is she? Bring her home?”
Family members have questioned the vetting of the adoptive family by DHS.
A spokesperson for DHS shared a statement with KHON2 News: “We join with the community in sorrow and frustration when harm comes to any child or family. We understand the pain our community is currently experiencing.”
The department is unable to share much information about specific cases but did share procedures for background checks of adoptive parents.
“Individuals interested in becoming a DHS resource caregiver or an adoptive parent undergo a licensing process that includes: a home study, pre-service training, and comprehensive background check on all applicants, including criminal histories, state and national sex offender registries, child abuse and neglect registries and FBI fingerprinting checks on all adult household members.”Statement by the Hawaii Department of Human Services
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Meanwhile, an attorney working with the adoptive family told KHON2 they have cooperated with the investigation, but are not sharing any more information at this time.