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Saturday, December 21, 2002



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DEAN SENSUI / DSENSUI@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jenny and Tip Gilbert, parents of Maile Gilbert, were presented yesterday with a copy of the informational placard about the MAILE Alert System that will be posted in city buses. The system is named after their daughter, killed in 1985.




State officials launch
MAILE Alert system

The new program will notify
the public of abducted children


By Nelson Daranciang
ndaranciang@starbulletin.com

Hawaii police kicked off their MAILE Alert system to help locate abducted children yesterday, a week after 11-year-old Kahealani Indreginal was found dead after being taken from her Makalapa housing complex.

But Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue said that the system probably would not have been activated in the girl's case "because it didn't fit the criteria."

Donohue was among the state and city officials and local radio and television broadcasters who kicked off the MAILE Alert yesterday, a program to notify the public of an abducted child through radio and television bulletins and electronic highway billboards.

It is patterned after the AMBER Alert system used in 29 states.

The MAILE (Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency) Alert is named in memory of 6-year-old Maile Gilbert, who was abducted from her Kailua home in 1985 by a family acquaintance and killed.

According to criteria police established for activating the MAILE Alert:

>> The abducted child should be 10 years old or younger. Abductions involving older children will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

>> There should be sufficient information to indicate that the child may have been abducted and may be in immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death.

>> There should be sufficient descriptive information about the child, abductor and/or the suspect's vehicle to believe that an immediate broadcast alert will help locate the child and abductor.

In the case of Indreginal, the Aiea Elementary sixth-grader was last seen on the afternoon of Dec. 10, but she was not reported missing until the next morning and police had no immediate indication that she was abducted.

Police started an intense search for the girl which ended Dec. 13 when her body was found off of Aiea Loop Trail.

Police have charged Christopher Clayburn Aki, the boyfriend of Indreginal's half sister, with second-degree murder and have said he has admitted to the killing.

Donohue said the new MAILE Alert system will not be activated in cases of runaways or noncustodial parents who take their children.

Honolulu police came up with the strict criteria for the system to prevent the kind of abuse officials in Texas experienced after launching the first AMBER Alert, said Officer Phil Camero, HPD Missing Person Detail.

"There were too many 'cry wolf' calls," Camero said.

Starting yesterday, local radio and TV stations began broadcasting public service announcements informing people of the MAILE Alert and what they should do when the alert is activated. The announcements will continue through Jan. 31. Information about the program is also on posters in city buses and on HPD's Web site at www.honolulupd.org.

Maile's parents, Tip and Jenny Gilbert, attended yesterday's press conference announcing the system and said they were pleased to lend their daughter's name to the program. Tip Gilbert said he sympathizes with Indreginal's family.

Following his daughter's death, Gilbert started an independent search-and-rescue organization to locate missing children.

"When I'm out there, I'm looking for Maile again," he said.

Maile Gilbert's murderer, James Lounsbery, is serving a life sentence.

Honolulu police established the MAILE Alert in cooperation with the Missing Child Center of Hawaii, state Civil Defense and radio and television broadcasters.

The highway bulletins will use seven state Department of Transportation electronic billboards on the H-1 and H-3 freeways.



AMBER Alert
City & County of Honolulu


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