Kapolei woman describes ’emotionally scarring’ attack near home, police release suspect sketch

Local News

CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department have released a sketch of a man who attempted to sexually assault a young woman near her Kapolei home.

It happened early Wednesday morning, near Kamaaha and Kaiau avenues, right in the middle of Kapolei Elementary School and Kapolei High School.

The 19-year-old victim tells KHON2 she doesn’t know the suspect, who told her he was going to kill her.

Although her first instinct was to scream, she found the strength to remain calm throughout the 10- to 15-minute ordeal.

She wants to let others know what happened and how she got away without a scratch.

Aria Kahaialii was coming home from work at around 1 a.m. She got off the bus and says a man started to follow her home.

“He pushes me to the ground and puts this pressure on top of me and he basically tells me we are doing this right here,” she said.

At first she screamed out for help, and that’s when she says the suspect threatened to kill her.

So Kahaialii says she tried to reason with him, telling him that he would get caught if they were out on the sidewalk, and that he should follow her home.

“I tricked him into following me to my place. I was going to use that as a way to run away,” she said. “But when I shifted my body weight, his grip on my hand got tighter.”

Now outside of her complex, the two began to struggle and something scared him off. She believes he saw the surveillance cameras.

Police were on the scene Thursday talking to Kahaialii and investigating the incident as an attempted sex assault and kidnapping.

“I was lucky enough that the situation didn’t escalate as far as it could have escalated,” she said.

The suspect is described to be in his 30s, 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall and 140 pounds with curly, short brown hair. He was wearing a black tank top, black shorts with white stripes and athletic shoes.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300. You can also send anonymous text and web tips by texting “CS808” plus your message to 274637 or CRIMES.

CrimeStoppers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.

Another attempted sex assault incident was reported less than 24 hours later, still on Sept. 9, at approximately 11:20 p.m.

This one happened on Kealanani Avenue prior to Kumuiki Street. Police also released a suspect sketch and description from that incident.

According to HPD’s crime mapping site, eight crimes, mostly thefts, were committed near the area within the last week.

Jodi Akau, the local neighborhood security watch coordinator says more people need to be involved in keeping an eye on what’s going on in their own neighborhoods.

“I would say she is a brave girl to do something like that,” Akau said. “When you are in a situation, you just have to think really fast.”

The coordinator recommends people sign up for HPD programs, like Smart911, so their information is already on file in an emergency.

“Emotionally, mentally, I am still scarred from it, but if I can take that and either help someone else and bring more awareness, then that is great,” Kahaialii said.

Kahaialii also wrote a letter to Kapolei High School officials so students and parents are informed about what happened.

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