Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Stillborn baby’s
parents arrested

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> Police have arrested the parents of a baby reportedly stillborn and buried in Kalalau Valley over the weekend, and charged them with abuse of a corpse.

The parents, both 34, of Haena, have been in jail since Monday on the misdemeanor charge. Neither was able to make the $100 bail. The couple was scheduled to appear in court today.

Gordon Isoda, assistant police chief for the Criminal Investigation Division, said "abuse of a corpse" is defined in Hawaii Revised Statutes as treating a corpse in a manner that would "outrage normal family sensibilities." He declined to elaborate on the charge.

State and county law enforcement officers searched for a baby's body without success for a second day yesterday along the beach area at Kalalau Valley on Kauai's Na Pali Coast.

"We didn't find anything; that's all I can say. It's the Kauai Police Department's case now, and they need more information," said Terry Low, Kauai branch chief of the state Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement after yesterday's search.

Authorities learned of the case after a tour helicopter spotted an "SOS" sign on the beach Sunday. A Kauai Fire Department rescue team flew into Kalalau at 9 a.m. and picked up the mother, who had been eight months pregnant and apparently gave birth to a stillborn baby.

She was taken to Wilcox Memorial Hospital where she was treated and released.

Police initially said they were told the mother hiked the difficult 11-mile trail into Kalalau on Saturday and went into labor shortly afterward. Fire officials said they were told the baby was born dead after midnight and the father buried its body. Police took along tracking dogs to search for the body but were unable to locate it.

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