Isabella Kalua

Isabella Kalua: Adoptive Parents Charged with Murder, 6-year-old Reported Missing a Month After Her Death

More than two months after 6-year-old Isabella “Ariel” Kalua was reported missing, police have arrested the child’s adoptive parents on murder charges.

ABC News reports that Isaac and Lehua Kalua were arrested Wednesday on second-degree murder charges for the presumed death of Isabella, who still has not been found.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Isabella was reported missing on September 12 by her family, according to Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic. Her adoptive parents claimed they put her bed at around 9 p.m., that night in their Waimanalo home.

Police, however, say that Isabella died in August, but the family failed to report her missing until nearly a month later.

Police also previously said that some family members are not cooperating in the investigation.

“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.

“Initially they were [cooperative]. They did open their homes initially to us, provided us statements, but then as the weeks passed, there was no callback to us.”

Lehua and Isaac Kalua/Police Handout

Investigators believe that the suspects killed Isabella in mid-August and took measures to conceal the crime. Police didn’t specify what information led to the arrests but said they found evidence to suggest the Kalua couple is responsible for the child’s death.

“Unfortunately, what began as a search for a missing girl turned into a murder investigation focused on the Kaluas. While we are unable to discuss the details at this time, we believe that the evidence leads to the Kaluas and no one else,” Interim Honolulu Police Chief Rade Vanic

Isabella, who was born “Ariel Sellers,” was adopted by the Kalua family last year; they changed her name shortly after the adoption. Isabella attended Waimanalo Elementary School last year via distance learning, but according to the Department of Education, the suspects withdrew her from school in June and announced she wouldn’t be attending the following year.

“In June, her adoptive parents filed paperwork with the school to withdraw the child to home-school,” DOE officials said.

Other children in the home, including Isabella’s siblings, have been removed and placed in the care of children’s protective services.

Anyone who had any interaction with Isabella and her sisters from 2019 through August 2021 should contact Honolulu CrimeStoppers at 808-955-8300 or

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Handout]