Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Crew combs Laos site for remains of pilot

U.S. missing-in-action search and recovery teams are at a site in Laos where the only U.S. Coast Guard MIA from the Vietnam War is believed to have died, the Coast Guard said yesterday.

Lt. Jack Rittichier, the first Coast Guard combat casualty of the war, was piloting an HH-3E, "Jolly Green Giant," helicopter when it was shot down June 9, 1968 along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, just inside the Laos border, Petty Officer Lauren Smith said.

At the time, Rittichier, a native of Ohio, and his three-man Air Force crew were attempting to rescue a downed pilot, she said. Rittichier served with the U.S. Air Force 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in Da Nang as a volunteer exchange pilot with the Air Force, Smith said.

Recovered remains associated with the helicopter crash site were to arrive at Hickam Air Force Base on Feb. 14, and then will be transported to the U.S. Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii for identification, she said.

The MIA search and recovery teams are comprised of mostly Hawaii-based U.S. military and Department of Defense civilian specialists, including personnel from the lab and Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, Smith said.

Arriving visitor admits to bringing in snake

A 23-year-old male passenger moving to Hawaii turned in a 20-inch rosy boa snake to state Department of Agriculture officials at Honolulu Airport on Saturday night.

The passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles said he was not aware that snakes were illegal in Hawaii, said Agriculture Board Chairwoman Sandra Kunimoto.

He declared the animal on the plant and animal declaration form given to arriving passengers who are on flights to Hawaii. Kunimoto said the passenger told the flight attendant that he was carrying the snake in a zippered pocket on his pants.

The passenger turned over the rosy boa to two agricultural inspectors. Kunimoto said he was cooperative and told the inspectors that he raised the snake from when it was first hatched.

The 20-inch rosy boa was taken to the Plant Quarantine Branch and later will be sent to the Honolulu Zoo, said inspector Malcolm Onaga.

The rosy boa, or Lichanura trivirgata, is native to the desert, brush lands and foothills of California, Arizona and Mexico.

It is pink, rose or reddish-brown, with stripes along its body. Officials say the snake can grow up to four feet long and is a powerful constrictor that preys on small mammals and birds.

Anyone with information on illegal animals is asked to call the state Department of Agriculture's PEST Hotline at 586-PEST (7378).

[ Taking Notice ]

Sprint and group ease deaf communication

Sprint and the Aloha Association of the Deaf are offering technology to make it easier for the deaf to communicate with family, friends and business associates.

People with hearing or speech disabilities will be able to communicate over the Internet through Web-based applications, and through video relay service, said Steve Lunceford of Sprint.

Sprint Relay OnlineSM allows users to complete phone calls via the Internet as an alternative to traditional teletext calls. There are no long-distance charges, and customers away from home can connect a laptop to pay phones or hotel lines. Users simply access to set up a call, and they are connected with a relay agent who dials the number of the call.

Another innovation is the use of American Sign Language emotion icons to direct the operator's tone of voice and inflection to make conversation as expressive and realistic as possible.

Customers can also use a video relay service to express themselves in American Sign Language. A video interpreter dials and facilitates the call, then translates sign language into speech for hearing customers, and speech into sign language for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers.

The video relay service is free to users but requires a personal computer, high-speed Internet connection and an inexpensive video camera. Users may access the service at with the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser and videoconferencing software.

Free qigong seminar is offered on Feb. 16

A free qigong seminar will be held by East West Qigong International, a local nonprofit organization, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Kaimuki-Waialae YMCA, 4835 Kilauea Ave.

Basic concepts of practicing qigong will be presented. This is an ancient Chinese system of self-healing that uses breathing, posture and concentration to balance and strengthen energy systems and reduce stress.

Limin Song, qigong master teacher, will lead the seminar.

Pohai Good Samaritan opens new care homes

Pohai Good Samaritan has opened two new care homes, Ahui Laulea and Ahui Malie, as part of the care offered at Pohai Nani, 45-090 Namoku St., Kaneohe.

Certified nurses aides provide 24-hour assistance in a home setting. Each resident has a private bedroom with private call-light service. Exercise classes and activities also are provided.

Tours may be arranged by calling 247-3448 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Wednesday.


Corrections and clarifications

>> Oil industry consulting firm Stillwater Associates is being paid $231,200 by the state to study Hawaii's gasoline market, not $321,200 as stated in an article last Wednesday on page C1.

>> David Oka is president of O Communications, the company hired to perform design and layout duties for the Kamehameha Schools book "Images of Aloha." In a story about Luryier "Pop" Diamond in Sunday's Mauka-Makai, he was incorrectly referred to as a Kamehameha Schools staffer. Also, Lilinoe Andrews was responsible for copywriting, caption research and editing of the book.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

HPD seeks woman, 28, on forgery warrants

Christina McNeal: She is also wanted for questioning in an identity theft investigation

Police and the U.S. Secret Service need help finding Christina McNeal, 28, who is wanted on two forgery warrants and a traffic warrant. Officials said McNeal is also wanted for questioning in an identity theft investigation.

McNeal is described as 5 feet 4, 90 pounds, with a slim build, tan complexion, long black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call Special Agent Glen Peterson at 541-1912 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.


Suicide jumper had forced way onto roof

Honolulu police say it appears that the man who critically injured a 32-year-old motorist after jumping off a Waikiki hotel earlier this week had forced his way onto the hotel's roof.

Police said the entry into a stairway that leads to the roof on the 44th floor of the Ohana Maile Sky Court Hotel on Kuhio Avenue had been locked but apparently had been forced open. Police said that once inside the stairway, the jumper failed to open another secured door that led to the rooftop itself, but gained access by climbing metal pipes and kicking out a window grate.

Police said the suicide jumper -- identified as Camaron Tuupoina, 22, of Aiea -- landed on the driver's side of a Chevy Astro van, which was stopped at Kuhio Avenue and Olohana Street. The impact killed Tuupoina and critically injured the female driver in the van.

Police said yesterday the driver remained in critical but stable condition at Queen's Medical Center.


Police seek suspect in weekend shooting

Shane Mark: Suspect sought in shooting is 28 years old, 5 feet 6 and 150 pounds

Police ask for help finding a suspect, wanted in connection with a shooting over the weekend.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Shane Mark, 28, for investigation of attempted murder and multiple weapons offenses.

Police said Mark met with two males on Saturday at the Assembly of God Church at 3440 Moanalua Road, and shot one of them in the thigh after a dispute over the purchase of a video camera.

He was last seen driving a possibly stolen dark brown Toyota Camry.

Mark has numerous aliases, including, Byron Kelii Alcos, Darick Baclaan, Darrell Nakano, Anthony Nirry and Jason Paaina.

He is described as 5 feet 6, 150 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a mustache. Police said he was carrying a handgun.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gary Lahens at 529-3052 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

Beating near stadium prompts investigation

Police opened an assault investigation Tuesday night after a man was beaten by several males after he stepped off a city bus near Aloha Stadium.

The bus driver told police that after the man got off at Kamehameha Highway and Salt Lake Boulevard about 10:35 p.m., a beer bottle shattered the side window near the driver's seat.

The driver said he then saw several males chase the man, catch up to him and beat him.

The suspects had fled by the time military police from Pearl Harbor arrived to investigate.

The unidentified man was taken to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition with head injuries.


Male suspect sought in Pearlridge robbery

Pearlridge bank robber: Suspect is in his 20s and has a goatee, mustache and short dark hair

Police are looking for a man who robbed the American Savings Bank's Pearlridge branch Tuesday.

The man walked into the bank at 98-200 Kamehameha Highway about 3:10 p.m., approached a teller and presented a note asking for money, police said. The suspect also said he had a gun, but none was seen, police said.

The man is described as in his 20s, 5 feet 6 to 5 feet 10, weighing between 160 and 180 pounds, with a medium build, pockmarked face, short dark hair, a mustache and goatee. He was last seen wearing a white visor, sunglasses, a white T-shirt and gray shorts and carrying a brown zippered bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Michael Ogawa at 529-3357 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.


Sagging utility lines snarl Kahuku traffic

Rush hour traffic along Kamehameha Highway near the shrimp farm in Kahuku was limited to one contra-flow lane this morning because of sagging utility lines.

But police did not allow buses or trucks through because of how low the lines were.

Earlier, police had closed both lanes of the highway for several hours after a sports utility vehicle knocked over a utility pole.

No one was hurt and no customers lost power or phone service.


Equipment is stolen from Hilo banana farm

Big Island police are seeking the public's help in finding the thief or thieves who stole a welder and trailer from a banana farm earlier this week.

Police said that between 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and 7:45 a.m. yesterday, a thief or thieves stole a Hobart Champ 16 welder and the utility trailer to which it was attached from a farm on Kaupukea Homestead Road.

The utility trailer was described as being 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. Attached to the back of it were a green oxygen tank and a red acetylene tank. The welder and rig were valued at $5,000.

Anyone with information about the theft or the identity of the thieves is asked to call officer Vince Sivankeo, of the South Hilo Patrol, at 961-2311 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

16-year-old Hilo boy missing since Nov. 30

Stephen Whitney: The teen is also wanted for probation violation and escape.

Big Island police are looking for a 16-year-old boy who has been missing from his residence in Hilo since Nov. 30.

The missing youth was identified as Stephen Whitney, who is also wanted for several offenses, including probation violation and escape.

Whitney is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds, with a tan complexion, short brown hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call Detective John Ancheta, of the Hilo Police Juvenile Aid Section, at 961-2276 or the police nonemergency number at 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

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