Police: 15-year-old girl abducted from Hawaii Island beach found safe; suspect in custody

Photo still of the logo for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Photo still of the logo for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.(NCMEC)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 11:29 PM PDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2022 at 8:51 PM PDT
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WAIKOLOA (HawaiiNewsNow/Gray News) - Hawaii Island police confirm that 15-year-old Mikella Debina has been found safe in Hilo, a day after she was reported abducted from a secluded beach.

As of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, police have located and arrested 52-year-old Duncan Kealoha Mahi in connection to the kidnapping. He remains in custody.

Witnesses and family members tell Hawaii News Now that Debina was rescued at Cafe Pesto in Hilo when good Samaritans recognized her and stepped in to help.

Debina’s mother, Cherese Cher Angelel, said, “Heroes ... ripped her from her abductor.”

“She’s with the Hilo police now,” she said.

An Amber Alert was issued for Debina on Friday after she was reported abducted about 1:30 p.m. in the area of Anaehoomalu Bay near Waikoloa Beach Drive.

Police issued a county-wide alert around 5:45 p.m. Friday and alerts went out statewide early Saturday.

According to the victim’s aunt, Debina and her boyfriend were at the beach when the suspect approached them and held them at knifepoint.

“He had my niece tie up her boyfriend, blind fold him and then took her,” said Laurene Debina.

The girl’s aunt added that police detected a signal from Debina’s cellphone near the Kona airport — about 20 miles away — and found Debina’s bag with her dress nearby.

The Hawaii Police Department said they would like to thank the community for their assistance.

An investigation remains ongoing.