The grandmother of 6-year-old Isabella Kalua says she’s been affected deeply by her granddaughter’s disappearance, especially since the little girl once lived with her.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Isabella “Ariel” Kalua was reported missing on September 12 by her family, according to Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic. She was last seen when her adoptive parents put her bed at around 9 p.m., in their Waimanalo home, Hawaii News Now reports.
An AMBER Alert has not been issued in the case because police say the case doesn’t meet the qualifications.
According to police, some family members are not cooperating in the investigation. Police also confirmed that a backpack found in a canal during a previous search is connected to the case.
“We have conducted numerous interviews; however, there are still individuals, to include acquaintances and family members, who have yet to come forward to be interviewed,” Criminal Investigations Division Lt. Deena Thoemmes said.
Isabella’s grandmother, Barbara Kumai, told the Star-Advertiser that she had custody of Isabella and one of Isabella’s sisters in 2017. At the time, Isabella was 2 and her sister was 8. Kuma’s daughter and Isabella’s mother, Melanie Joseph, was addicted to drugs and homeless at the time, along with her husband, Adam Sellers.
Kumai added that Isabella was placed for adoption by the Department of Human Services child welfare officials after her boyfriend was involved in a serious motorcycle accident.
“The social worker said she didn’t want me to get overwhelmed,” Kumai said. “Every time she came to visit, I had just come home from the hospital and I was tired.”
“She should have given me a chance. I wanted to try. You don’t know how many times I called her and left messages. I felt something wasn’t right.”
Isabella and her sisters were ultimately placed with her adoptive parents, Isaac “Sonny” Kalua III, and his wife, Lehua. On September 13, authorities removed the other girls from the home.
The adoptive parents reportedly told police they think that Isabella wandered off from home and/or was abducted. Family spokesperson William Harrison stated that the adoptive parents called 911 immediately when they discovered Isabella wasn’t in the home.
Despite a massive search involving the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, Isabella remains missing. They recently suspended the search for the child but will continue to follow up on leads.
“I’m hoping something will surface,” Kumai said. “Someone will crack and say something. I’m sure it haunts them if they did something to her. They got to worry every day if they get caught, I’m hoping, if they have any conscience.”
Previous Video Coverage on the Case
In June, Isabella’s parents withdrew her from public school and reportedly started homeschooling her.
“There’s virtually nothing that you have to do to warrant your application for homeschooling to be approved,” child abuse investigator Steve Lane said. “Nor is there any supervision provided for children once they are placed in home school.”
Ariel stands 3-feet-3-inches tall and weighs around 46 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a black hoodie and black leggings, colorful socks, and Nike slider sandals with pink bottoms.
Police said at this point there is no evidence to suggest that Ariel has been abducted.
Anyone with any information concerning the case should contact call CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to our latest episode below.
[Featured Photo: Ariel Kalua/Police Handout; Family Handout]