Tearful vigil held for Isabella Kalua as police suspend search efforts

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Police Department on Monday announced it had suspended the search for missing 6-year-old Isabella Kalua, who was last seen sleeping in her bedroom in Waimanalo on Sunday, Sept. 12.

The suspension followed a week-long search of the entire Waimanalo area. Multiple law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers have looked for any sign of Isabella, also known as Ariel Sellers.

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Meanwhile, dozens of community members attended a candle light vigil Monday night at Nanakuli Beach Park. Many were brought to tears and prayed that the 6-year-old will be found.

Isabella Kalua, 6, was reported missing on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. (Courtesy: Honolulu CrimeStoppers)

“We’re so connected, Waimanalo and Nanakuli and the west side of Oahu, that we wanted to shine the beacon of light to Waimanalo and let them know that we stand with them even though we’re separated by mountain ranges,” said Darius Kila, a community member.

Vigil organizers were grateful that the community came out in support.

“I’m grateful that folks up and down the coast and across the island are coming this evening and just showing their support,” Kila said.

The Attorney General’s Office Missing Children Center works on up to 40 cases at any given time that are similar to Isabella Kalua’s. There are different classifications for each case, including lost child, endangered runaway and abducted.

“That can be either a parent or family abduction or a stranger or acquaintance abduction and the safety risk is going to be potential harm by the abductor to the child,” said Amanda Leonard, coordinator and branch chief of the Missing Child Center – Hawaii of the Department of the Attorney General.

Leonard said stranger abductions — where the victim does knot know the suspect — are rare in Hawaii. The most common cases the Center responds to are endangered runaway and family abduction. In any case, time is essential.

“I often say time is the enemy, because you have to understand that the folks responding to a missing child incident, especially a critically missing child incident are running against the clock. So it’s imperative that all resources are being utilized in real-time and we all continue to support the responders in these matters as much as possible,” Leonard said.

Officials are asking the public if they know anything to please call authorities. The community will keep on hoping for the best until there are answers.

“We hope that we can continue to shine light and this doesn’t happen every day, but this still happens and we truly will stand behind the communities in whatever way we can, because I know they would do the same for us,” Kila said.

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Anyone with information should call Honolulu police or CrimeStoppers at (808)-955-8300.

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