Big Island police have initiated a custodial interference case in connection with a 9-year-old boy who was taken in by a Puna family overnight after the child ran away from home Wednesday afternoon.
9-year-old Disen Heu-Aragaki was found unharmed in Hilo at 2:40 p.m. Thursday (March 15) and reunited with his family a short time later at the South Hilo police station.
The boy left his Kurtistown home Wednesday afternoon following an argument with his mother.
A family found him wandering alone on 40th Avenue in Orchidland approximately 1.5-to-2 miles from his home and fed him and let him spend the night. On Thursday, the family took the boy with them to a construction site in Hilo. Their relative learned that the boy had been reported missing and called police to report his location.
Detectives and patrol units responded to an address on Railroad Avenue and determined that the child was unharmed. As a precautionary measure, Fire Department medics examined the boy and confirmed that he was in good health and had not been injured.
Detectives transported the child to the Hilo police station, where he was reunited with his family.
“We want to public to understand that it is not OK to keep a lost child overnight before calling police,” said Assistant Chief Henry Tavares. “The proper response is to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible after you find a child who is lost or wandering alone without adult supervision.”
Police urge parents to keep a current photo of their children, along with other important details—such as physical description and medical history—that will help police if a child goes missing.