HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) – After nearly 20 hours of air and ground searches, police have confirmed that 15-year-old Mikella Debina was found healthy by quick-thinking strangers who only knew her from an alert AMBER.
An AMBER Alert was issued for Debina on Friday after she was reportedly abducted around 1:30 p.m. in the Anaehoomalu Bay area near Waikoloa Beach Drive.
Witnesses and family members say the suspect and kidnapped teenager went to Cafe Pesto in downtown Hilo, where the restaurant host said he knew something was wrong .
“It’s, something’s wrong. And I come, even though it wasn’t her, my brain was like, I gotta have it,” Bridge Hartman said.
Hartman said teenager and suspect Duncan Mahi twice approached the host’s booth for a table. As they walked away, Hartman noticed that they began to argue.
“And I realize then they started arguing…I was like – Wait, what’s going on? It just wasn’t related,” Hartman said. “And then, I realized it was her. And I screamed, it’s the girl… it’s the AMBER Alert girl. It’s her. It’s her.”
He said the suspect let go of the teenager for a second. That’s when Hartman rushed over.
“She pulled away from him, like just for a brief moment. And I was able to catch it in time. And I rushed her into the back of our restaurant.
Up front at the time was the well-known artist Dragonfly in downtown Hilo.
“All of a sudden I heard a girl screaming, ‘Help, help, leave me alone,'” Libellule said. “And then here’s this guy dragging her.”
Hartman said the suspect tried to convince everyone that Debina was his daughter.
Another Good Samaritan on the scene was Kori Takaki. She and her mother were eating at Café Pesto when the incident happened.
“When I looked at it, it looked like a man and a woman fighting,” Takaki said. “But she was wearing men’s clothes and I thought, that’s weird. She doesn’t look like she’s wearing her own clothes.
Witnesses said Debina was frightened and shaken, but not injured.
“She said he kidnapped me, he kidnapped me. Thank you,” Hartman recalled. “And I just walked into the office. I gave him some water.
Takaki stayed with Debina until the police arrived and helped him get in touch with his mother. She said the real hero is the host of Cafe Pesto.
“He really was a brave young man,” Takaki said. “I just know it’s a mother’s worst nightmare.”
Hartman said it was the first time he had come across a situation like this, but he was relieved he acted on his instincts.
“So if you see something, just do something,” Hartman added.
“I think the most important thing we can do is really prepare our children to know that they need to be safe and aware of their surroundings at all times,” Takaki added.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 911. For those who wish to remain anonymous, they can call Crimestoppers at (808) 961-8300.
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