Honolulu police on Tuesday arrested a 21-year-old man in connection with a deadly assault on his 5-month-old son in Kapolei, police said.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the victim’s name.
Police said the unresponsive baby was taken to an area hospital Monday night where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed the infant sustained “acute internal traumatic injuries,” police added.
During an investigation into the baby’s death, police said the father confessed to assaulting his baby.
The suspect is identified in a police arrest log as Huakai Kalamau. Police arrested him Tuesday night on suspicion of manslaughter.
Details on the circumstances surrounding the deadly assault were not immediately available as the investigation is ongoing.
Honolulu police have also opened a separate assault investigation involving a 2-month old boy in Iroquois Point.
Police said the infant was having difficulty breathing on Nov. 23 and taken to a medical facility in critical condition. The baby remains hospitalized. Police said they have not made any arrests at this time. Further details on the assault investigation were not immediately available.
Organizations that assist domestic violence victims in Hawaii, which include child abuse victims, say families are facing many stressors because of economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s already tough to be a parent and you have all this going on,” said Karen Tan, president and chief executive officer of Child & Family Service.
The organization has observed an increase in need for services such as food, housing, child care, as well as increasing concerns about domestic violence. There also has been a significant increase from people who never sought services before.
Tan noted there is more of a risk right now for abuse in the home because of the added stress. “We know that stress adds to the risk of child abuse and neglect,” she said.
According to data from the Child Welfare Service Branch of the state Department of Human Services, there was a dip of intakes of child abuse or neglect reported to the department by education personnel this year, a time when most students are distance-learning to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Elladine Olevao, administrator of the Child Welfare Services Branch of the state Department of Human Services, said the data also show reporting being carried on by other sources that include law enforcement and friends and neighbors.
Olevao said the community must be “makaala” (alert). “We have to watch and be able to respond and say something if we see something.”
“We have to extend ourselves to help children,” she added.