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Toddler’s dad in critical condition after apparent murder-suicide attempt


A 36-year-old Kailua man allegedly attempted to take his 2-year-old daughter’s life and his own late Christmas afternoon by jumping into his backyard pool.

Police said the incident occurred between 5 and 5:15 p.m., leaving the man in critical condition. He is suspected of second-degree attempted murder and remained at an area hospital Thursday.

The girl also survived but her condition was unknown.

“The baby was OK,” said Ernest Burlen, 79, a neighbor. “EMS took her to the hospital with the father. He wasn’t looking too good.”

Burlen said the father, Thomas Morton, had his daughter on weekends and holidays and seemed to be a good father and a good uncle to his twin brother’s three children, who lived in the downstairs portion of their two-story house at 1288 Kina St.

At the time, Morton’s brother and his wife had gone to the airport to drop off their children, who were going to catch a neighbor island flight to visit grandparents.

Another neighbor, who lives on the adjacent hillside, said she heard loud moans before the incident.

“It sounded like someone in a lot of pain,” said the woman, 59, who asked not to be named. “I couldn’t see anybody. It went on for some time. It sounded like this person was in agony.”

She then saw the next-door couple scale the fence. The husband “fished the child out of the water and handed her to the wife,” she said.

The husband jumped back into the water and tried to pull the man out of the deep end, she said.

But he struggled to bring Morton to the surface, so the hillside neighbor’s husband, 58, ran down to help and managed to pull Morton out of the water. He remained unconscious.

Burlen said Morton was wearing denim trousers, and the child was fully dressed.

“I know he loved the baby,” Burlen said. “Something must have set him off.”

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