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DLNR Statement on Plea Deal in Ka`ena Point Albatross Killings

DLNR is issuing this statement in the Kaʿena Point albatross killings, expressing concern over the plea bargain of Christian Guiterrez, 19, the adult accused of participating in these crimes.

Christian Guiterrez

“This crime is absolutely heinous,” said Suzanne Case, Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “It combines appalling animal cruelty with long-lasting devastation of a breeding population of vulnerable and protected majestic seabirds. Unfortunately, DLNR was not consulted with respect to the plea bargain in this case. Our wildlife managers and enforcement officers work very hard to protect the Kaʿena albatross colony. We take great responsibility for the welfare of these Laysan Albatross and to the public who cares about them deeply.  DLNR is watching this case very closely to see if justice will be met.”

17 Laysan Albatross nests were destroyed (6 eggs died from loss of an incubating parent that was killed and 11 were crushed) and at least 15 adult birds were killed, some of which were dismembered by the perpetrators. With 32 live albatrosses lost, and a proven reproductive potential of each adult bird that can live for 60+ years and rear a chick every other year, the combined effect on the population has been calculated in the hundreds for these large, protected birds.

This is the first major case to come before Hawaiʻi’s new environmental court. “The tone this case sets can have far reaching impacts on the security of our wildlife and natural resources,” Case said. “It is critical that the outcome of this case sends a strong message to the public, that violations of laws protecting our vulnerable native wildlife and acts of illegal take and destruction will not be tolerated.”

Three Folks Charged with Numerous Offenses Stemming From Puna Kidnapping Incident

Two men and a woman from Puna were charged Thursday (March 16) with numerous offenses stemming from a kidnapping incident that occurred earlier in the week in upper Puna.

On Monday (March 13), South Hilo patrol officers responded to the Hilo Medical Center where a female victim reported that she and her three children were held against their will for several days at a residence in the Mountain View area before escaping to another residence where medics were summoned and they were eventually transported to the Hilo Medical Center.

The 25-year-old female victim reported that she and her three children, ages six, four and eight were held for several days against their will in a shed in the Mountain View area. The female victim identified her estranged boyfriend and father of the children as well as two additional parties (one male and one female) as the suspects in this case. The victims were treated and released for minor injuries sustained during the ordeal.

Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division’s Juvenile Aid Section took over the investigation and arrested three suspects.

Israel Allen Chapson

Yesterday (March 16) at 2:30 p.m., 30-year-old Israel Allen Chapson was charged with four counts of kidnapping, two counts of felony abuse of a family/household member, two counts of third degree promoting a dangerous drug, one count of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia and one count of third degree promoting a detrimental drug. His bail has been set at $251,000.

Chevy Iaukea

Also charged yesterday related to this same incident was 29-year-old Chevy Iaukea and 29-year-old Joseph Soares.

Joseph Soares

Each were charged with four counts of kidnapping. They are both being held in lieu of $200,000 bail. All three suspects reside in Mountain view and are currently being held at the Hilo cellblock pending their initial court appearance set for this afternoon in Hilo District Court.

Police ask anyone with any information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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.