Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Affidavit details
Alexis’ many injuries

HILO » The heart of 10-year-old Big Island girl Alexis stopped beating on arrival at Kapiolani Medical Center when she was taken there in early February, according to a police affidavit.

Police and a paramedic previously had described substantial injuries suffered by Alexis, whom police believe is the victim of child abuse. But the police affidavit describes still more injuries that had not been disclosed. They include malnutrition, broken bones, a stab wound and indications that the girl might have been tied up.

The affidavit was written to support a search warrant at the home of Hyacinth Poouahi in the Ainaloa subdivision, 15 miles south of Hilo. Alexis' mother had left her in the care of Poouahi, a friend, months earlier.

Since removing Alexis from the home on Feb. 7, officials have said only that she is in critical condition.

Poouahi told the Star-Bulletin last month that Alexis' injuries worsened suddenly over a few days after an extended period of the girl picking at minor injuries to get attention.

The affidavit by detective Juergen Canda quotes Poouahi's 15-year-old daughter as saying the injuries had existed for two weeks and that Poouahi refused to get medical help for Alexis.

In addition to Alexis going into cardiac arrest on arriving at the hospital, a doctor informed Canda that she suffered from severe dehydration and was malnourished.

"The victim had several areas of dead tissue about her body as a result of pressure ulcering and burns that appeared to be caused by a cigarette and a cigarette lighter," Canda wrote.

A National Institutes of Health Web site indicates that pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, are caused by lying in a single position for a long time until flesh dies at that spot.

Canda added, "There was evidence of ligature marks on the victim's arms that appeared to be caused by wires, thin rope and cloth."

The girl had broken bones in her left hand and left foot and an apparent puncture wound near her neck, the doctor told Canda.

Canda also said Alexis had a cut on her head that was decomposing and contained maggots.

The warrant allowed police to search for any diary Alexis might have written. An inventory shows police did recover a "composition book," but there is no indication of what is written in it.

Alexis was removed by county paramedics from Poouahi's house after Poouahi called 911 for help.

Canda's affidavit says Poouahi, her common-law husband, Jaime Soares, and her 13-year-old son were primarily responsible for the injuries.

The 15-year-old daughter told police: "My brother guys beat her up. My brother stabbed her. Mom and dad hurt her."

The teenager said she begged her mother to take Alexis to a doctor, but the mother refused.

Canda wrote that the teenager was "distraught" and moved out of the house for a week. She came back the same day that her older sister, 19, went to Hilo Hospital to have her baby. That night, Poouahi called 911 for Alexis.

The events began in October or November, when Alexis' mother dropped the girl off with Poouahi and did not come back.

Alexis had been attending Keaau Elementary School, but when she began living in Ainaloa, she transferred to Keonepoko Elementary School. The girl failed to return from Christmas break.

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