Thursday, January 17, 2002

Kapolei abduction
turns out to be
a child’s hoax

The school still plans to hold a
workshop for parents on safety

By Rosemarie Bernardo

A 12-year-old Kapolei girl's story about being abducted while waiting at a city bus stop on Monday was untrue.

CrimeStoppers and the Honolulu Police Department said they received information yesterday that "no kidnapping occurred in the Kapolei area as was initially reported."

As detectives investigated the case, "things were not holding up," said Detective Letha DeCaires, CrimeStoppers coordinator of the Honolulu Police Department.

The seventh-grader told police she was at a bus stop at Kapolei Parkway and Kamaaha Avenue about 2:45 p.m. Monday when a man showed her a knife and ordered her to get into his vehicle. Police had said she was able to escape when the suspect stopped at another bus stop near Kapolei High School.

Shortly before alerting the media yesterday afternoon that no kidnapping occurred, CrimeStoppers had issued a sketch of the suspect based on the girl's description.

Police did not give details on how they figured out the story was untrue. DeCaires would not say whether the girl lied, but said that police would not pursue charges against her.

The girl's story scared parents, school officials and children in the area.

Makakilo resident Kim Medeiros, whose 12-year-old son Keoni attends Kapolei Middle School, said: "I feel a little bit better knowing that it didn't happen, however, we shouldn't underestimate stuff like this. I'm still cautious. I'm always cautious with my kids."

Jo Ann Abrazado, parent community network center facilitator, said she was shocked to discover the abduction did not occur. She said the seventh-grader, described as a "very quiet girl," caused school officials to panic.

"It's not a funny thing to do," Abrazado said.

Vice Principal Karen Ueyama said she was glad that the kidnapping did not occur but said it can happen anywhere.

"We have to make sure that children learn from this," Ueyama said.

Though the kidnapping turned out to be fabricated, Abrazado still plans to hold a parent workshop in February to inform parents on what their children can do when confronted by a stranger. She will also inform parents to warn their children that telling school officials and police officers false information is wrong and "not a thing to play with."

Lt. Roy Kajiuye of HPD's Criminal Investigation Division, said, "It's not unusual (that) a case like this turns out to be unfounded."

In March 2001 five 8-year-old children from Linapuni Elementary School in Kalihi told police how four of them threw rocks at a male suspect who tried to pull a female classmate into his vehicle. After investigation, a child from the group admitted the attempted kidnapping never happened.

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