Home » News » World » 'She Died With Mouth Taped, Locked in Dog Cage': Details of 6-year-old Girl's 'Murder' by Parents Shock US
3-MIN READ

'She Died With Mouth Taped, Locked in Dog Cage': Details of 6-year-old Girl's 'Murder' by Parents Shock US

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: November 14, 2021, 10:19 IST

New Delhi

Honolulu Police Maj. Ben Moszkowicz addresses a news conference in Honolulu on Wednesday with Ariel's picture on the screen. (Image: Associated Press)

Honolulu Police Maj. Ben Moszkowicz addresses a news conference in Honolulu on Wednesday with Ariel's picture on the screen. (Image: Associated Press)

Isabella's adoptive parents had reported her missing a month ago. However, the Kaluas have now been charged for second-degree murder.

A Hawaii couple charged with the murder of their adopted 6-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty through an attorney on Friday, as court documents allege their horrifying abusive treatment leading up to the girl’s death, including keeping her in a dog cage to prevent her from searching for food.

A report by CNN details the statements made by the biological sister of six-year-old Isabella ‘Ariel’ Kalua: “Lehua Kalua (their mother) bought a dog cage on the internet to lock Ariel up in at night, because the 6-year-old “would sneak around at night and want to eat because she was hungry." The child told police Ariel was often denied food by Lehua Kalua, adding they did not have a dog at the time. The victim died with duct tape on her mouth and nose.

The new details were revealed in documents filed in court Friday to justify the arrests of Isaac and Lehua Kalua, who adopted Isabella and two of her siblings and were foster parents to another biological sibling, on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The Kaluas on Sept 13 had reported to police that Isabella — also referred to by Honolulu police by her birth name of Ariel Sellers — was missing and that they had last seen her asleep in her room the night before.

RELATED NEWS

Police arrested the Kaluas on Wednesday, saying they believe the girl was killed a month before they reported her missing. But a body has not been found.

The parents were being held without bail and appeared in court via video from a cellblock on Friday.

A deputy public defender entered not guilty pleas for them, but it’s not yet clear who their attorneys will be, said state Public Defender James Tabe. He said if they both qualify for public defenders, one of them will have a private attorney appointed.

An attorney who has acted as their spokesperson, William Harrison, said he is not representing them in the case but has spoken on their behalf as a family friend.

“All I can say is I’m obviously saddened by what’s written,” he said of the court filing. “I don’t know the details.”

During an interview a week ago with a detective, Isabella’s sister said the Kaluas asked her about two months ago to keep secret what happened: That Isabella “was in the bathroom in a dog cage, duct tape on her mouth and nose, and she didn’t wake up,” according to the police affidavit in support of warrants for the Kaluas’ arrests.

The sister was identified by initials I.M.K. in the court documents, which indicate she was born in 2009.

During a news conference announcing the arrests of the Kaluas, police declined comment on why they believe Isabella is dead. The timing of the sister’s interview last Friday with the detective coincides with Honolulu police homicide Lt. Deena Thoemmes saying the case turned into a murder investigation at the end of last week.

The sister, who is older, said she knows Isabella is “dead because she was there,” the court documents said.

“Lehua then filled the bathtub with water and put (Isabella) in it to see if she would wake up, but it did not work,” the documents said.

The sister had to help carry Isabella to their bedroom, the documents said.

The mother then drained the tub and a few days later, Isaac Kalua went to a hospital pretending he had COVID-19 symptoms, the documents said.

The sister told police she knew he was pretending because he took time off work to “help mom,” the documents said, “to get rid of the stuff … evidence."

The sister told police Lehua Kalua bought the dog cage on the internet even though they didn’t have a dog. Kalua said she bought it because Isabella would sneak around at night and want to eat because she was hungry. The sister said Isabella would be hungry because Kalua wouldn’t feed her and the sister tried to sneak food to her sometimes, according to the court documents.

Isabella was kept in the cage at night, the sister told police.

After reporting Isabella missing, Lehua Kalua told police the girl had a habit of going into the garage and falling asleep and would sometimes leave doors unlocked, according to the affidavit. She also told police their home surveillance system constantly stops working.

According to the affidavit, police recovered surveillance footage on Sept. 13 that showed Isabella was last seen on cameras on Aug. 18.

With inputs from the Associated Press.

Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Telegram.

first published:November 14, 2021, 10:19 IST
last updated:November 14, 2021, 10:19 IST