Kona baby’s death reclassified as murder


Hawaii Police Department investigators have reclassified the death of an infant last November as a murder, following an eight-month investigation and recent autopsy results.

The infant has been identified as Rylee Sele-Pang of Kailua-Kona.

On Nov. 25, Kona patrol officers responded to a report of possible child abuse. Responding officers learned that Fire Department rescue personnel had taken an unresponsive 18-month-old boy to the hospital with multiple bruises reportedly from a fall several days earlier.

The infant was later transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu in critical condition. He was pronounced dead on Nov. 27.

Police Lt. Gerald Wike said Monday that the department couldn’t comment on whether an arrest is imminent or whether the investigation was focusing on a caregiver or family member.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” Wike said. “As you can imagine, it’s a sensitive case.”

Juvenile Aid Section detectives had initially investigated the incident as a possible abuse case. Police deferred reclassifying it pending autopsy results.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office conducted extensive testing and analysis, which required the use of a mainland laboratory.

On Wednesday, after receiving the results of the testing and analysis, the medical examiner determined that the cause of death was complications of blunt force injuries of the head. As a result, detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section have reclassified the case as murder.

The infant is survived by his mother, Tyaony Luis-Kahalioumi of Hilo; father, Lolilo Sele-Pang of Hilo; sister, Ty-Lee Cadaoas of Hilo; maternal grandparents, Kristen and Tara Kahalioumi of Kona; paternal grandmother, Luella Pang of Hilo; great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, according to an obituary published in November in West Hawaii Today.