Lois Cain, who has been missing since fire broke out in her home at 3015 Hibiscus Drive and consumed it along with six other homes Sunday, was generous and caring, according to the accounts of neighbors and Janice Morrow, who was a houseguest of Cain’s at the time.
But this generous nature, which had prompted her to let downstairs tenant Jerry “Jarda” Hanel occupy her basement rent-free, initially, in exchange for handyman services, may have blinded Cain to a raging violence within Hanel that erupted Sunday morning.
Police say Hanel, whose remains may have been found Tuesday in the rubble of the burned-out home, fatally shot officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama as they responded to a woman’s 911 call for help Sunday morning.
Police said Hanel did not have a permit to carry firearms.
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And the only guns Morrow had ever associated with the house were upstairs, in a storage locker filled with guns under Cain’s bed.
Cain stayed in the middle bedroom in the upstairs unit of the house, while the other two bedrooms were occupied by Morrow and the three-member King family, including Gisela Ricardi King, who was attacked and severely wounded by Hanel on Sunday morning when she went to his downstairs unit in an effort to rescue Cain, who she said he was beating, according to neighbors Ellen Farmer Freeman and Jennifer Tema.
The guns belonged to Cain’s late husband, Raymond Cain, Morrow said, speaking from Los Angeles, where she lives. Morrow was initially one of the two women, along with Cain, whom police considered missing after the Sunday fire, but it turned out she had left the house for a yoga class about 30 minutes before the violence broke out.
“I know that (Lois’) husband had guns when he passed away maybe 10 years ago, and the last I knew, there was a gun case under her bed in the room where Lois stayed,” said Morrow, 53, who knew Lois Cain, 77, for 20 years. Raymond Cain, a landscape architect in Hawaii, died in 2005.
However, Morrow said, she did not know whether the guns were still present during her last, approximately 3-1/2-week stay at the house, during which she tried to provide support to Lois Cain in the homeowner’s efforts to evict Hanel, whom she had formally served with an eviction notice but had stayed on past the mid-December deadline.
“Jarda was always telling Lois he would get her and burn the house down,” Morrow said. “To me this (was) a classic case of elder abuse.”
He also threatened Morrow and the neighbors, she added. “There was this raging, alcoholic schizophrenic threatening everybody, thinking they’re spies,” Morrow said.
She said that during her visit she had called “five or six” social services agencies in Honolulu to report elder abuse that Hanel was perpetrating on Cain by threatening her and locking her out of her office in the downstairs unit, which Cain continued to access by removing louvers from a small side window, stepping up makeshift cinder-block stairs and climbing in.
Cain suffered from atrial fibrillation and had been hospitalized for a week in October due to heart problems, Morrow added.
Morrow said she had spoken with staff at the state Department of Human Services Adult Protective Service, requesting that they send a social worker to assess the situation and hopefully recommend Hanel’s removal, but to her frustration this wasn’t done.
“I spent two full days making phone calls pleading for help, and no one did a thing,” she said.
She said she also had visited the Waikiki police station to report Hanel’s threatening behavior.
Now, “I want to contact the attorney general and try to reach the governor’s office as well,” she said.
Cain, who had been staying part time in California and sometimes in a condominium she owned on the so-called Gold Coast along Kalakaua Avenue at Diamond Head, had returned periodically to stay in her house on Hibiscus Drive with the goal of either selling or renting it. The condo is currently rented, Morrow added.
After her yoga class on Sunday morning, Morrow said, she was on the trolley on her way to Walmart at about 10:15 a.m. when she got a call from a friend in New York who had seen the news about the shootings and conflagration on Hibiscus Drive.
She called a neighbor who confirmed it was Cain’s house that had burned.
That night, Morrow flew back to Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. on her previously scheduled return trip.
She said she left reluctantly but had nowhere else to stay. Having lost everything she’d brought to Hawaii in the fire, Morrow said she bought clothing and shoes at a Ross store for her flight.
“I’m just numb,” Morrow said. “(Cain) is one of the best friends I ever had.”
She said that if an agency had removed Hanel from the house, “Lois might still be here.”
Instead, “everybody told her to take care of it herself,” Morrow said, adding that she hoped the terrible events on Hibiscus Drive would spur the state and city governments to have abusers taken and kept away from their victims, so that her friend’s suffering and presumed death wouldn’t be in vain. (Two sets of human remains were found in the home’s ruins, but as of press time, identification had not been made.)