Updated: October 1, 2022
By Wendy Osher
Court documents reveal disturbing allegations in a murder case brought against the adoptive parents of missing Oʻahu girl, Isabella “Ariel” Kalua.
Lehua and Isaac “Sonny” Kalua made their initial court appearance today in Honolulu and are being held on no bail for charges of second degree murder. The allegations were contained in a criminal complaint filed with the Family Court of the First Circuit.
In court documents, the girl’s older sister recounts the “secret” of what happened to Ariel, in an interview conducted and recorded by at detective on Nov. 5, 2021.
According to court documents, police say the sister told police that Ariel “was in the bathroom in a dog cage, duct tape on her mouth and nose, and she didn’t wake up.”
The girl told police that Ariel “was not breathing,” and the girl’s adoptive mom filled the bathtub with water to see if the six-year-old would wake up, “but it didn’t work.” According to court documents, the sister had to help carry Ariel to a bedroom, but told police she does not know where Ariel was put the following morning.
Ariel’s sister who was interviewed by police further stated that a few days later, Isaac went to Kaiser to “pretend” that he had COVID, according to court documents. The girl stated that she knew her adoptive father was pretending because “she knows that he took off work to ‘help mom.’” When asked why Isaac would need to help mom, the girl stated “‘to get rid of the stuff… evidence,’” according to court documents.
The criminal complaint further notes that the girl was asked to keep that secret around two months ago.
On Wednesday, following the arrest of the adoptive parents, police said they believe Ariel was murdered by the couple sometime in the middle of August 2021, a full month before Ariel was reported to police as a missing person.
Police say video surveillance recovered from the Kalua home on Sept. 13, indicates Ariel was last seen on surveillance cameras on Aug. 18, 2021.
The court documents indicate that Isaac and Lehua adopted three of the biological children of Melanie Joseph and Adam Sellers, and are foster parents of another biological child who was born in 2020.
The older sister told police that the dog cage was purchased via the internet because Ariel would sneak around at night and want to eat because she was hungry, according to court documents.
The court ordered the defendants to appear for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 26 at 1:30 p.m. Both were remanded into custody at the Oʻahu Community Correctional Center.