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Big Island Police Arrest 38-Year-Old Man in Connection with 2011 Death of 19-Month-Old

Police have arrested a 38-year-old Mountain View man for a 2011 murder in Hilo.

Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez

Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez

At 9:40 a.m. Tuesday (January 28), acting on a tip, police arrested Xavier J. Cortez Jr., also known as Pee Wee Cortez, on the strength of a sealed arrest warrant for second-degree murder. He was located at a home in the Livingston subdivision in Mountain View and taken into custody without incident.

On January 22, the case was presented to a grand jury, which returned an indictment for second-degree murder. At the request of police and the prosecutor, the indictment was sealed while police actively searched for Cortez.

Cortez was held without bail until he made his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

On January 2, 2011, police received a report that 19-month-old Pomaikai Ferreira had been taken to Hilo Medical Center and was experiencing difficulties breathing. She was transferred by air ambulance to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where she died on January 9, 2011.

Cortez was initially arrested for first-degree assault on the day of the incident. He was later released pending further investigation by detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section.

The medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Ferreira ruled the death a homicide as a result of crainiocerebral injuries due to, or as a consequence of, abusive head trauma.