Thursday, February 4, 1999

Pastor says
youngster was
near death

The mother of the badly
injured boy is accused
of attempted murder

By Debra Barayuga


As a hunter, Rick Frasure knew when death was imminent.

In this case, the figure "lying in a clump" propped up by a pillow on a makeshift bed on the floor of the home of Kimberly Pada was 4-year-old Reubyne Buentipo Jr.

"I knew from the sound of his breath he did not have long in this world if we didn't do something," Frasure said.

The senior pastor of the Windward Worship Center in Kaneohe was sent to the Kailua home by a church friend Pada had called because the boy was unconscious and not responding.

Frasure testified yesterday in the second day of trial for Pada. She is charged with second-degree attempted murder in the Aug. 31 assault on Reubyne Jr., the third of her four children.

Reubyne Jr., now 5, is in a vegetative state at a convalescent home from injuries suffered allegedly at the hands of his mother in a violent August 1997 beating and shaking that caused permanent damage to his brain.

The case stirred public outrage and resulted in a law passed last year that requires child welfare advocates, social workers and Family Court to put child safety first before family reunification.

Frasure lost his composure yesterday as he haltingly recounted lifting the coverlet and towels over the unconscious boy.

Reubyne Jr. was clad only in a blue T-shirt. His breathing was shallow. His skin was cold and clammy. There were multiple scratches over his body and burn marks that appeared to be cigarette burns. There was a scab on the boy's penis. "There were marks everywhere," Frasure said.

Asked if there was any part of the boy where he didn't see injuries, Frasure replied, "No, sir."

Frasure told his wife Karen, who had accompanied him, to call 911, but Pada protested. "She just 'went off,' " Frasure said.

Karen Frasure, who was in the living room with Reubyne Jr.'s three siblings, heard the oldest Pada boy say, "We have to hide Reubyne."

When Rick Frasure told Pada her son needed their help and suggested they take him to the hospital, Pada calmed down and agreed to get dressed.

When Frasure lifted Reubyne Jr., the boy seemed "lifeless, very limp, totally unresponsive."

Pada was concerned about what they would tell the hospital staff. She talked about Reubyne Jr.'s father and the abuse she had suffered. And she talked about ending her life, Frasure said.

About six weeks before the incident, Frasure had met with Pada to discuss concerns he and other pastors at the church had about how she disciplined her children, particularly Reubyne Jr.

Pada had mentioned to Frasure on occasion about not letting Reubyne Jr. get away with misbehaving and that her son used "puppy eyes" to gain people's sympathy and get his way.

Deputy public defender Mary Wong said that while Pada treated Reubyne Jr. differently from his siblings, it was to discipline him and also because she was looking out for his safety and well-being.

Reubyne Jr. was in special classes at Kailua Elementary and teachers there recommended she wield a firmer hand with him to control his behavior, Wong said.

Carrie Ruiz, who became close friends with Pada after meeting her at church, said their relationship became strained after she began witnessing incidents in which Reubyne Jr. was punished or treated differently from the other siblings.

When asked to describe Pada's relationship with Reubyne Jr., Ruiz broke down, saying they didn't have a relationship. "You never saw a bond a mother should have with her child," she said.

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