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Search suspended for missing Lawai man

LIHU‘E — After nearly a week, efforts to find Moses “Lono” Gardner have been suspended pending new information, Kaua‘i Police Department said Thursday.

The search for the 50-year-old man Lawai man began Monday when he was reported missing after hiking into the trails off Miloli’i Ridge Road in Koke‘e State Park the day before.

The multi-agency search party, which included the Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kaua‘i Search and Rescue Team, and the Department of Land and Natural resources ultimately did not yield any results.

“I’d like to personally thank all of our partner agencies for their role in conducting this nearly weeklong search,” said Investigative Services Bureau Lieutenant Chris Calio. “Without this joint effort, we wouldn’t have been able to cover the amount of territory we did. Sadly, we were unable to locate Mr. Gardner, and we as a bureau would like to convey our sincere condolences to the family.”

Gardner is of Hawaiian descent, with brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a white t -shirt, blue jeans, and carrying a camouflage backpack. According to the KPD, he had been picking maile when he went missing.

Kaua‘i is a hotspot for missing persons cases, with a 2020 Civil Beat article listing 86 unsolved cases on island at the time.

In May 2021, 23-year-old Samuel Joseph Martinez of Lincoln, Nebraska also went missing while hiking in the Koke‘e. Search efforts were unable to locate Martinez, though his backpack was discovered in Dec. 2021.

This March saw a two-week period in which three individuals went missing at sea — search and rescue efforts to find Benjamin Brothers of Hanapepe, Huy Nguyen of Kilauea, and Matthew Preziose of New Jersey were all ultimately suspended.
Source: The Garden Island

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