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2 indicted for toddler slaying on Halloween

KAILUA-KONA — Million-dollar bench warrants have been issued for two people indicted on murder, abuse and evidence tampering charges in the Halloween 2018 slaying of a 6-year-old boy at a Kealakehe apartment complex.

Ashley Nihipali, also known as Ashley Balai, and Kuuipo Nihipali were indicted Thursday on 12 charges each in connection with the Oct. 31, 2018, death, according to 3rd Circuit Court records and sources. The indictment has been sealed, meaning it is not available to the public or media until a judge unseals the filing with a court order.

Ashley Nihipali was charged with one count second-degree murder, three counts abuse of a household member, three counts abuse of a family or household member younger than age 14, one count tampering with physical evidence, and two counts first-degree terroristic threatening, according to the records available Thursday.

Kuuipo Nihipali was charged with two counts second-degree murder, three counts abuse of a household member, three counts abuse of a household member younger than age 14, one count first-degree hindering prosecution, one count tampering with physical evidence and two counts first-degree terroristic threatening, the records state.

The murder charges filed against the two stem from an offense on Oct. 31, 2018, while the remaining charges they face have offense dates spanning from June 1, 2018, to Oct. 30, 2018, according to the court records.

A $1 million bench warrant was subsequently issued for each of the two suspects. Neither Ashley Nihipali nor Kuuipo Nihipali were in police custody as of press-time Thursday. Both were ordered not to have contact with three minors identified as T. N-M., S-N.M,, and K. N-M. in the court records.

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth declined comment on the indictment, including whether it was in fact filed in connection with the Halloween murder, pointing to the sealed indictment. The Hawaii Police Department was also unable to provide additional information because of the sealed indictment.

However, multiple sources confirmed to West Hawaii Today the indictment is connected to the Oct. 31, 2018, death of a 6-year-old boy at the Lailani Apartment complex in Kealakehe. Both the suspects indicted and the victim share the last name.

The indictment comes some eight months after the boy was pronounced dead, about an hour after he was brought unconscious by family members to the Kailua Fire Station about 4:30 p.m. that day.

Police responding to the fire station off Palani Road learned that the child was reportedly involved in an “incident” and been found unconscious at the Lailani Apartment complex on Manawalea Street. The affordable housing complex is located about a half-mile from Kealakehe Elementary and Intermediate schools.

Fire department medics transported the boy to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m.

The child’s death was ruled a homicide after autopsy results revealed the cause of death involved trauma, police said a week after the incident. Police have yet to provide any other details on what the trauma was or the victim’s name.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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