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    May 2018
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HPD Investigates Missing Evidence: Cocaine

In October 2017, both criminal and administrative investigations were initiated after it was discovered that cocaine recovered as evidence in 2014 was found to be lighter in weight than reported during its initial recovery.

The discrepancy was discovered when the evidence was being weighed in preparation to utilize a small quantity of the cocaine for training purposes.

The investigation quickly identified a sworn employee as being a person of interest for the missing portions of the drug.

The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave without pay and subsequent audits of other evidence recovered by the officer revealed other anomalies which revealed cases in which there was a weight discrepancy in marijuana concentrate (hashish) from two separate investigations. Those investigations had been suspended because there were no suspects.

The identified employee has since retired and is no longer employed by the county. The department has tightened up procedures in order to ensure a similar scenario cannot be repeated. The department has also conducted additional audits to ensure these incidents have not been committed by anyone else.

The criminal investigation which included consultation and collaboration with the Hawai‘i County prosecuting attorney’s office was formally referred to the prosecutor’s office for review on March 2, 2018. Because the investigation has been turned over to the prosecutor’s office, further comments regarding this matter will not be made.

Body Found Along Puna Shoreline

Hawaiʻi Island police have opened a Coroner’s Inquest investigation in connection with a body that was found in Puna.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, patrol officers responded to the Kalapana Gardens area after a hiker discovered a body clad in a gray T-shirt and green shorts in a remote location along the coastline.

Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene, but because of the body’s advanced state of decomposition, neither the age, gender or identity of the victim could be immediately determined.

Due to darkness and limited accessibility to the area, police secured the scene until the next morning.

The following morning, Wednesday, Dec. 6, detectives returned to the scene, which had been held by patrol officers. With the assistance of the Hawai‘i County Fire Department’s helicopter, the body was airlifted out of the area and taken to the Hilo Medical Center, where the official pronouncement of death was made at 12:30 p.m.

An autopsy has been requested to determine the exact cause of death. This is currently classified as an unattended death.

Anyone who may have saw someone with this clothing description in the area or have any other information about this incident is asked to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or Wendall.Carter@hawaiicounty.gov.

Apparent Drowning at Makalawena Beach

Rescue  Company 7 of the Kailua-Kona station, Chopper 2 of the South Kohala station and Battalion Chief 2 of the Waikoloa Fire station responded to a report of the swimmers in distress at Makalawena Beach on Dec. 5, 2017, at 3 p.m.

Initial reports said three swimmers were in distress and that one person in the party could not swim.

At 3:21 p.m., the Hawai‘i Fire Department’s Chopper 2 was the first to arrive on the scene. Chopper 2 shuttled rescue personnel of company 7 from a landing zone at Mahaiula to the shoreline to assist.

As the incident progressed, fire dispatch determined all parties were on shore. Bystanders were performing CPR on the drowning victim.

Onboard medical crew then initiated advanced life support protocol in an attempt to revive an apparent drowning victim.

A second party with non-life threatening injuries was also extricated via Chopper 2 to awaiting ground unit Medic 7 for treatment and transport to  Kona Hospital.

The drowning victim, a male approximately 20 years of age, did not survive after extensive efforts to revive him and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The identity of the victims is not known at this time.

Keaʻau Boy, 16, Reported Missing

Ashton-Gage Demorales-Moniz. Courtesy photo.

Hawai’i Island Police are searching for a 16-year-old Keaʻau boy who was reported missing.

Ashton-Gage Demorales-Moniz was last seen in Keaʻau on Oct. 2, 2017.

He is described approximately 5-feet 5-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with short brown hair and blue eyes.

Police ask anyone with any information on his whereabouts to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.