State’s First AMBER ALERT Led To Something Great

Hawaii's First Use of Amber Alert Proves Effective in Saving Teen

Hawaii’s First Use of Amber Alert Proves Effective in Saving Teen

( – More than 330,000 minors went missing in 2021, per FBI records. An AMBER alert, short for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, goes out when local authorities and civilians need to be on the lookout for a child. Recently, Hawaii had to use the system for the very first time. It was a resounding success.

On Friday, September 16, 52-year-old Duncan Keala Mahi allegedly abducted 15-year-old Mikella Debina while she was out with her boyfriend. According to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, the man forced her to tie up and blindfold her companion at knifepoint and then took her forcibly. Authorities put out an AMBER alert that afternoon, and it reached the right people.

The next day, Debina told her alleged abductor she was hungry. He stopped to get food, and that’s where his plot unraveled. The suspect took her into Hilo’s Cafe Pesto on the other side of the island from where she went missing, and a restaurant host recognized her. When the teen tried to escape, the captor physically attempted to restrain her, but the good Samaritan stepped in and called the police. The suspect fled, but officials caught him later and took the man into custody.

Fortunately, thanks to quick action from law enforcement in issuing the alert and the good Samaritan’s attention to detail, Debina is now home with her family.

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