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Search resumes for missing Waianae boy

By Gregg K Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 10:51 a.m. HST, Jul 7, 2014

Firefighters returned on Monday to a trail in Waianae where a 15-year-old boy was believed to have been hiking before he went missing on Saturday.

Capt. Dave Jenkins, a Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said a command post and a landing zone for the department's helicopter was established on Monday morning at Kaneaki Park in Makaha.

Jenkins said firefighters were searching the trail that Richard Vierra Jr. reportedly took on Saturday.

Police said Vierra went hiking alone on the trails near his home on Ala Akau Street about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday,  He called his mother about 11:30 a.m. to say he was returning home, but never arrived.

On Sunday, family, police and friends joined 20 firefighters searching the area for the youth.

Firefighters suspended their search for the day at about 6 p.m. on Sunday after no sign of the boy was found, Jenkins said.

He said the boy's mother called for help about 1 p.m. Saturday, and firefighters began looking for the boy by working their way down from the top of the trail. A fire helicopter also assisted by dropping off firefighters along the trail and scanning from above.

Jenkins said firefighters called off the search about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday after authorities received information that a cellphone tower received a ping from the boy's cellphone near Pokai Bay. Police searched that area, but the boy was not found, Jenkins said.

On Sunday morning, authorities followed up with cellphone company officials, who said it was possible the boy was still in the mountains and the tower received a ping because the boy was in a position where his cellphone's signal reached the tower.

Vierra is described as Caucasian, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and 120 pounds, with short reddish hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a dark blue shirt with a white print, shorts, and a light blue backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-3800.

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