Family of murder victim wins lawsuit
HILO » A Big Island couple whose 6-year-old daughter was raped and murdered by a 14-year-old boy in 2001 has been awarded $2.75 million in a lawsuit stemming from the case.
But there is doubt that parents George and Tumata Tadeo will collect much money for the death of their child, Kau'ilani Tadeo-Lucas, at the hands of Mark Davis Jr., who was diagnosed as mentally retarded at age 5.
The award came Tuesday in a default judgment after the defendants failed to contest the lawsuit.
Tadeo family attorney Joy San Buenaventura said the judgment gives them "vindication and closure." And the Davis family once owned a house, which means they might have a small amount of money somewhere, she said.
The Tadeos sued the Davis family on the grounds that Mark Davis Jr. was a known danger and that his parents failed to properly supervise him.
Davis was found not guilty of murder because of "mental incapacity" and is held at the Hawaii State Hospital. Documents in the lawsuit say the youth, now 19, shows "highly assaultive behavior, often having caused injury to staff" at the hospital, making his release unlikely.
His mother, Ellen Pearl Davis, divorced his father, Mark Davis Sr., and is listed in court documents as living in "safe houses" in Detroit because she is afraid of him. There is no indication she can pay any money.
The father was last known to be in Detroit; investigators have been trying for years to contact him.
Information from the criminal case described a gruesome attack in a vacant house near the Tadeo home on the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2001. The little girl suffered a blow to the head, numerous stab wounds to her body, rape and strangulation.
Mark Davis Jr. took drugs the day of the attack and could not remember it, court documents say.
San Buenaventura said the youth knows how to lie and was "cunning" enough to escape once from the State Hospital.
Court documents paint a picture of a boy who suffered at the hands of his father, then repeated that behavior with other children.
He told police that his father beat him and his mother, brother and sister. A tenant at the family home "drugged him up" with his father's permission, and he "believed" that his father also injected him with heroin in his sleep, he told police.
"That way I think he sexually abused me," he said.
Police found four pornographic videos at the family home, and store records showed the father rented 19 more.
The boy told police his mother tried to stop the abuse, but she was afraid of the numerous guns her husband owned.
"I don't want my dad to kill us," the boy told police. "Because my dad was a mean fighter. He had anger in him."
Just touching food wrong could set his father off, the boy said. "He would get real mad and start hitting you with sticks -- what you call that? -- plywood, with nails in it," he said.
School records indicate increasing trouble.
The boy's mother said the school in Detroit, where the family lived, told her he had mental shortcomings at age 5.
Later he was described as having "severe deficits in all areas of work."
The family moved to the Big Island in 1999. In 2001, the year of the attack, Pahoa High and Intermediate School described him committing "pervasive and continuous" harassment against sixth-grade girls. He was described as "violent" and "a bully with smaller kids."