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Police say Isabella Kalua was killed a month before adoptive parents reported her missing

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                FBI agents erect a tent at the Puha Street home in Waimanalo where Isabella “Ariel” Kalua lived and went missing on Sept. 13. Her adoptive mother, Lehua Kalua, was arrested at the house this morning, and her doptive father, Isaac “Sonny” Kalua, was arrested at Pearl Harbor today.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    FBI agents erect a tent at the Puha Street home in Waimanalo where Isabella “Ariel” Kalua lived and went missing on Sept. 13. Her adoptive mother, Lehua Kalua, was arrested at the house this morning, and her doptive father, Isaac “Sonny” Kalua, was arrested at Pearl Harbor today.

  • LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Two people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Isabella Kalua of Waimanalo.

    LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Two people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Isabella Kalua of Waimanalo.

  • COURTESY CRIMESTOPPERS HONOLULU
                                Isabella Kalua, 6

    COURTESY CRIMESTOPPERS HONOLULU

    Isabella Kalua, 6

  • LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Two people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Isabella Kalua of Waimanalo.

    LEILA FUJIMORI / LFUJIMORI@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Two people have been arrested in connection with the disappearance of 7-year-old Isabella Kalua of Waimanalo.

  • JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER / ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Honolulu Police Maj. Ben Moszkowicz addresses a news conference in Honolulu today where law enforcement officers said they arrested the adopted parents of Isabella “Ariel” Kalua, shown on the screen to the left. The parents, Lehua and Isaac “Sonny” Kalua have been charged with second-degree murder in the girl’s death.

    JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER / ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Honolulu Police Maj. Ben Moszkowicz addresses a news conference in Honolulu today where law enforcement officers said they arrested the adopted parents of Isabella “Ariel” Kalua, shown on the screen to the left. The parents, Lehua and Isaac “Sonny” Kalua have been charged with second-degree murder in the girl’s death.

  • COURTESY HPD
                                Lehua Kalua and Isaac Kalua

    COURTESY HPD

    Lehua Kalua and Isaac Kalua

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Honolulu police say that the adoptive parents of 6-year-old Isabella Kalua, also known as Ariel Sellers, killed her sometime around mid-August and reported her missing a month later.

Both parents were arrested for suspicion of second-degree murder today and charged, as part of an FBI and Honolulu police investigation into the child’s disappearance. Both are being held without bail. They have not recovered her body, but continue to search the Kaluas’ Waimanalo property today.

Police arrested Lehua Kalua, 43, at 7:30 a.m. at 41-610 Puha St. during an FBI and police raid of her Waimanalo home.

Her husband, Isaac K. Kalua III, 52, was arrested 7:10 a.m. on suspicion of second-degree murder in Building 167 at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, where he works.

Isabella, who was then 6 years old, was reported missing from her Waimanalo home Sept. 13 by her adoptive parents.

They said they last saw her 9 p.m. Sept. 12 in her bedroom, and reported her disappearance by calling 911 at 6:30 a.m. Sept. 13.

The statement they initially made to police was false, said Homicide Lt. Deena Thoemmes.

>> PHOTOS: Investigators search Waimanalo home

They told police on Sept.13 that she left the house in the middle of the night, and that was false from a review of multiple surveillance videos in the area, Thoemmes said.

Although they had suspicions that it was a murder, the case was technically only reclassified late last week, she said.

“Unfortunately, what began as a search for a missing girl turned into a murder investigation focused on the Kaluas,” Honolulu interim police chief Rade Vanic said. “We believe that the evidence leads to the Kaluas and no one else.”

Criminal Investigation Division Maj. Ben Moszkowicz thanked the FBI for their assistance and expertise.

Their assistance “helped crack the case,” he said.

There has been no confession, but a major development occurred last week, police said.

Kealohi Kea, 32, witnessed HPD’s Specialized Services Division officers apprehend Lehua Kalua at about 7:15 a.m. or so outside her Waimanalo home.

Kea, who lives across the street heard officers yelling, “Get out of the car!” opened her window and saw a “flash bang” go off inside the living room of the Kaluas’ house.

Kea said Kalua complied and her wrists were handcuffed behind her back.

Isabella’s 7th birthday was Saturday.

Anyone who may have seen Isabella or had interactions with her or her sisters from 2019 to August 2021 are asked to call CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300. Anyone who may have seen Lehua or Isaac “Sonny” Kalua from August to September are also asked to call CrimeStoppers.

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