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In Brief | Big Island & State 3-11-14

Updated: 
March 12, 2014 - 12:05am

Police find human remains in South Kohala

Police initiated a coroner’s inquest case after finding human remains in South Kohala Monday evening. Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section located human remains on vacant land between Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Puako Beach Drive. Police ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death and the identity of the deceased.

Police seek missing teen

Police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing last month. Brianna Kehaulani Freitas-Jones was last seen in Hilo Feb. 26. She is described as Caucasian, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with green eyes and long brown hair.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

FBI searching for alleged terrorist in Puna

The Honolulu FBI has received credible intelligence that FBI Most Wanted Terrorist fugitive Daniel Andreas San Diego, 36, may be hiding on the Big Island.

Agents from the Honolulu and San Francisco offices of the FBI are canvassing selected areas, including Pahoa and Puna, looking for information about the fugitive’s whereabouts, according to Tom Simon, special agent with the FBI. San Diego is considered armed and dangerous.

San Diego was indicted in 2003 in connection with the bombing of two buildings in California, according to Simon.

“He may or may not actually be on Hawaii Island, but we are taking this lead seriously out of genuine concern for local residents,” Simon said.

Anyone with information should call the FBI’s Honolulu office at 566-4300. A reward of up to $250,000 is offered for information leading to his capture.

PTA to open areas for hunting Saturday, Sunday

Army officials are opening the Keamuku training area for shotgun or bow bearded turkey, or gobbler, hunting, and training areas 1 to 4 for bow mammal hunting from 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

No shotgun slugs are permitted.

Hunters enter and exit the Keamuku training area through gates 2 and 7 on old Saddle Road and through gates 11 and 14 on Highway 190. Parking is accessible in the designated area by mile marker 49 and 50. No parking is allowed on the shoulders of the highways. Hunting areas will be monitored by federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Hunters enter and exit training areas 1 to 4 through gates 1 to 10 on east Saddle Road, Highway 200, and must secure all gates upon entering and exiting.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations after 5 p.m. Friday. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.

All hunters must check in and out at one of the following hunter’s check-in stations: Kilohana, located on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44, Puu Huluhulu, located at the intersection of Mauna Kea Access and Saddle roads near mile marker 28, or Puu Anahulu check-in station located in the vicinity of mile marker 14 on Highway 190. Check-out time is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

For more information, call the PTA Hunter’s Hotline at 969-3474; visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta, and click on the “Hunting” tab; or refer to instructions on the hunting pass. Hunters can also call 969-2411 or 656-3154 during business hours.

Man charged in car break-in

A Honokaa man is in police custody in connection with a theft from a tourist’s rental car.

Monday afternoon, a 58-year-old visitor from Henryville, Ind., reported seeing a man leaning through the passenger door of his unlocked rental car, parked near a Honokaa shopping center. The victim said the man was removing cash from the console, then fled on foot. About 15 minutes later, police located Jovin Baba Batalona, arrested him and took him to the Hilo police cellblock. Tuesday, Batalona was charged with unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and third-degree theft. His bail was set at $11,000. He remains at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for today.

State investigates PUC chairwoman’s Kauai rental

LIHUE, Kauai — State officials are accusing the chairwoman of the state’s Public Utilities Commission of illegally building a bed and breakfast in a state conservation district and running it for more than 10 years.

The Garden Island reported Tuesday that the commission’s leader and former state lawmaker Hermina Morita has been ordered along with her husband to shut down their getaway spot on Kauai’s north shore.

Morita’s husband, Lance Laney, said he has shut down the bed and breakfast. But he declined to comment further to the newspaper.

A planner in the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a draft of a report expected to be discussed this month that the investigation was started by an anonymous complaint in 2008.

Schatz pledges 5 Senate race debates

HONOLULU — U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said he will participate in five debates and forums ahead of a Democratic Senate primary against U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Three debates will be held in July and the dates have not been set for two other debates, to be televised by KITV and Hawaii News Now. Hawaii’s primary election is in August.

Schatz said he looks forward to the opportunity to speak directly with the voters about the economy. He said the forums will let people hear firsthand about his work in Washington.

Hanabusa’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hanabusa sent Schatz a letter in November proposing 12 candidate forums in the race to fill the rest of the term for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Winter rains ease drought conditions in South Maui

WAILUKU, Maui — Months of rain have brought relief to severe drought conditions in South Maui.

The National Weather Service said rain in January and February helped lift three-year “extreme” and “severe” drought warnings.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, South Maui now falls under the “moderate” drought category.

The Maui News reported Tuesday that although South Maui has enjoyed wet weather, rain continues to fall below normal levels in the West Maui Mountains.

National Weather Service Hydrologist Kevin Kodama said the last time there was a prolonged severe drought event in Maui County was in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

Kodama said from January through February, there has been a two-level drop in the drought status for Makena, Kihei, Wailea and up-slope areas.

Jurors to hear details of child’s beating death

HONOLULU — A death penalty trial is scheduled to begin in the case of a former Hawaii-based soldier accused of beating his 5-year-old daughter to death in 2005.

After months of jury selection, opening statements were expected Tuesday in the murder trial against Naeem Williams.

Even though Hawaii abolished capital punishment in 1957, the federal court system allows for the federal death penalty.

Talia Williams died in July 2005 after she was brought to a hospital unresponsive, vomiting and covered in bruises. A criminal complaint by federal investigators accuses her then-25-year-old father of beating the child to discipline her for urinating on herself.

Investigators noted the girl slept in a room that had no mattress, no furniture and no blankets.

By local and wire sources