The search for a missing girl in Hawaii has transformed into a horrifying case of suspected murder.
According to an interview Honolulu police conducted with the missing 6-year-old’s older sister, the young girl, named Isabella, was seen dead inside a dog cage with duct tape over her nose and mouth, NBC News reported.
Worse than that, the unnamed older sister, who is around 12-years-old, told detectives that their adoptive mother had forced her to help move her sister’s dead body, and demanded that she keep what had happened a secret.
The horrifying details
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the parents, identified as Issac and Lehua Kalua, ages 52 and 43, respectively, were arrested Wednesday and are now facing charges of second-degree murder. They are reportedly being held without bail.
Their arrests undoubtedly stem from the police interview with their daughter, who, along with her younger sister and two other biological siblings, had been adopted by the Kaluas.
According to what the sister told police, she was woken up by her parents in the early hours of the morning about two months ago and was instructed to help her mother with Isabella, who was bound with duct tape in a dog cage and not breathing.
The sister was allegedly forced to help her adoptive mother place the younger girl in a bathtub filled with water, ostensibly to wake her up, but when that failed — because the girl was dead — the sister was forced to help carry her lifeless body up to her bedroom to be placed in the bed.
Just a few days after that, the sister recalled that her father took time off work to “help mom” with what she assumed was “to get rid of stuff…evidence,” according to the criminal complaint filed by the police.
Reported missing in September
The Associated Press reported that, according to what the sister told police, it was not uncommon for the parents to bind the little girl and place her inside of the dog cage, supposedly to stop her from leaving her room and wandering around the house at night or eating.
Isabella was often hungry, her sister said, because their parents didn’t feed them enough, and she would get in trouble for attempting to sneak additional food to her sister.
The Kaluas first reported Isabella missing on Sept. 13 and an extensive search of the surrounding area ensued. Based on her sister’s recollection, as well as video surveillance footage, police now believe that the girl was killed at some point in August, however. Her body has not yet been located.
Her parents have pleaded not guilty to the murder charges against them and have temporarily been assigned public defenders. The attorney who represented them when it was believed the young girl was missing has reportedly distanced himself from the couple.