Hawaiʻi County Police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating two suspects wanted for a brazen daytime escape from Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center in Hilo.
The first suspect is identified as 35-year-old Jarvis Naoki Higa. He is described as Japanese, about 5-foot-6 tall, about 160 pounds with short black hair and tattoos on his chest. Higa is considered dangerous and may be armed. He was being held at the facility awaiting trial for an attempted murder charge, in which he allegedly shot at a 34-year-old Hilo man in July of this year.
The second suspect is identified as 31-year-old Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar. He is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-7, about 170 pounds, with blue eyes and short reddish-brown hair. Jeffries-Hamar was serving his sentence at the facility for a parole violation and was also awaiting trial for a previous escape from the Hale Nani facility in August of this year. He is considered dangerous.
Wednesday morning (December 5) shortly before 10 a.m., police received a report from correctional officers that the two suspects had assaulted another correctional officer before threatening a civilian worker and stealing her vehicle. Correctional officers attempted to follow the escapees in the stolen vehicle but lost sight of them. Information was obtained from a resident in the area of Kūkūau Street and the Mohouli extension that the vehicle was last seen heading up Kukuau Street. The vehicle was found abandoned at the end of the street.
The 63-year-old correctional officer was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released. The 49-year-old civilian employee was uninjured.
The Puainakō Street extension was closed to traffic and re-routed for about two hours while police and correctional officers, aided by the Hawaiʻi Fire Department’s helicopter, conducted an extensive manhunt for the suspects.
During the course of the manhunt, police received a report of two men seen near a home on the 800 block of Kaumana Drive. Police discovered that the house had been forcibly entered and that a vehicle parked at the residence had been entered in an attempt to steal it. Police diverted their search to that area but were unable to locate the men. Both Higa and Jeffries-Hamar remain at large.
Police urge the public to call 911 immediately if either Higa or Jeffries-Hamar is seen. One or both of them may try to hitchhike to Kona.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation, which is classified as two counts of first-degree escape, two counts of second-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and second-degree terroristic threatening.
In addition to the escape, police have initiated a first-degree burglary and an attempted unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle case involving the scene on Kaumana Drive.
Police ask that anyone with information about the escaped men or anyone who may have witnessed this incident contact Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.