A candlelight vigil for Isabella Kalua, the 6-year-old Waimanalo girl missing since Monday, will be held at 6 p.m. today at Waimanalo District Park.
Her biological family has been organizing search efforts since the girl, named at Ariel Sellers at birth, disappeared from the home of her adoptive family. Volunteers have come out by the hundreds to look for her in coordination with the Honolulu Police and Fire departments and multiple state and federal partners. Her birth mother, Melanie Joseph, has been searching day and night.
Volunteers today searched from the 7-Eleven beach lots into the Waimanalo homestead and worked their way to Hawaii Kai. Other groups searched from Kahaluu to Laie, while others hit Kalihi, Aiea and Pearl City.
“It was a really good turnout,” said Alena Kaeo, who is related to Joseph.
Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. Sunday to resume the massive search and will reconvene at the park at 5 p.m. before the vigil organized by her birth family. The family received a $100 donation to purchase candles for the vigil but when managers at the Pearl City and Honolulu Walmart stores learned what they were for, they paid for the candles out of their own pockets.
Isabella’s adoptive parents, Isaac K. “Sonny” Kalua III and his wife, Lehua, think Isabella may have been abducted or simply wandered off, according to family spokesman William Harrison. He said they immediately called police at 6 a.m. Monday when they awoke to find her gone and allowed police to search the house.
Harrison, a criminal defense attorney, has said the child has a history of going outside at night to sleep in the yard and that electronic locks on the house confirm when she left the home. He said he is acting as a counselor and advised them not to search for Isabella, speak to the media or engage social media because they were getting death threats and didn’t want their words to get twisted.
They will meet with police soon to give statements, he said.
Police have not ruled out foul play.