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In Brief | Big Island & State | 4-3-14

Updated: 
April 3, 2014 - 7:00am
Corrections: 
A judge on Wednesday reduced bail for Randi-Keli Banagan to $250,000. Banagan made a court appearance in Hilo. Her preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. Friday in Kona. According to court records, Banagan’s bail was reduced to $250,000 after an application for judiciary determination was not submitted in a timely manner. It is the policy of West Hawaii Today to correct promptly any incorrect or misleading information when it is brought to the attention of the newspaper.

Banagan’s bail maintained

A judge on Wednesday maintained $250,000 bail for Randi-Keli Banagan.

Banagan, 22, of Captain Cook, is facing an attempted murder charge, after she allegedly shot a man Friday morning in Holualoa. The victim was treated at Kona Community Hospital and released.

Banagan made a court appearance Wednesday in Hilo. Her preliminary hearing is set for Friday morning.

PTA opening areas for bow hunting this weekend

Army officials are opening several places at Pohakuloa Training Area for bow hunting from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. this weekend.

Training areas 2, 10 and 11 will be open for bow hunting of mammals only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep, per day, in keeping with state bag limits. Shooting sheep with blue collars is not permitted.

The Keamuku Training Area will be open for bow hunting of pigs and goats only. Hunting of sheep is not permitted there this weekend.

All hunters must check in and check 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 Road and Saddle Road near mile marker 28; or Puuanahulu, located on Mamalahoa Highway (Highway 190) across from mile marker 15. Check out time is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.

Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations beginning Friday after 5 p.m. 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.

Hunter access to training area 2 is through any of gates 1 to 5 on the mauka side of new Saddle Road. Hunter access to training areas 10 and 11 is through gates 1 to 6 on the mauka side of new Saddle Road.

Hunter access to Keamuku is through gates 2 and 7 on old Saddle Road, or gates 11 and 14 on Mamalahoa Highway.

Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas. 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.

Hawaii’s largest coconut palm advances in contest

American Forests’ Big Tree Madness pits the biggest of the big against each other in a three-week competition to determine who will be crowned this year’s Ultimate Big Tree. “Coco,” a towering 112-foot-tall coconut palm at the Hawae Heiau complex in Hawaii Kai on Oahu, has advanced to the contest’s final four, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The public can vote for Coco online today at facebook.com/americanforests.

Coco is already on the National Register of Big Trees, DLNR said.

Missing woman found in good health

Hawaii Island police have located 48-year-old Danielle Caron, who was reported missing in March.

She was found in good health in Honokaa, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

FBI seeking info on suspected child sexual predator

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking the public’s assistance with obtaining identifying information regarding an unknown man suspected of sexually exploiting a child.

Photographs and informational posters depicting the unknown individual, known only as John Doe 28, are being disseminated to the public and can be found online at fbi.gov/wanted/ecap.

Initial images and video of the unidentified man engaging in sexually explicit activities with a child were first recorded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in November 2012. Investigators for the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have successfully enhanced images depicting John Doe 28 and believe they contain several clues, which may assist with the identification of the subject.

The video depicts the subject and the victim inside a residence with what appears to be a blue sofa chair and a picture hanging on a wall in the background. Additionally, the subject is wearing wire-framed glasses and a burgundy T-shirt with what appears to be a shark logo on his left side. The suspect appears to be a Caucasian man, possibly in his 30s or 40s, with a receding hairline and wearing glasses.

“Cases involving the sexual abuse of children are shocking to the conscience. When clues like this emerge, we need to band together as a community and a nation to identify the suspect and contact the FBI with tips,” said Honolulu FBI Special Agent Tom Simon. “The photos of this suspect provide some concrete clues. The face, the T-shirt, the green wall, the blue chair, and the painting hopefully will identify him so we can seek criminal charges and stop him from hurting more kids.”

There are no specific details linking the suspect to Hawaii or any particular state or region of the United States, and both his identity and whereabouts are currently unknown.

“Enhancing photos of child sex abusers has been a great tool to identify and capture suspects in these troubling cases. While we don’t know that this suspect is in Hawaii, the fact is that he has to be somewhere. As such, we are asking people to share his photos on social media so we can get some meaningful tips,” Simon said. “Social media can act as a force multiplier for the FBI when we are seeking tips on a big case. Facebook and Twitter are catching way more criminals these days than pictures on the post office wall.”

Anyone with information to provide should submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov or call the FBI’s toll-free tip line at 800-CALL-FBI. No charges have been filed in this case and the pictured individual is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

This individual is being sought as part of the FBI’s Operation Rescue Me and Endangered Child Alert Program initiatives, both of which represent strategic partnerships between the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Operation Rescue Me focuses on using clues obtained through in-depth image analysis to identify the victims depicted in child exploitation material, while ECAP seeks national and international media exposure of unknown adults who visibly display their faces or other distinguishing characteristics in association with child pornography images.

Hawaii readies to reforest scorched swath of Kauai

LIHUE, Kauai — State officials in Hawaii are preparing to begin reforesting 1,000 acres of reserve land on Kauai that burned in 2012.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will remove 15,000 tons of scorched eucalyptus and pine trees from the Kokee area and put in native and noninvasive plants.

The Garden Island newspaper reported that the restoration is designed to protect the land against flash floods and erosion. Most of the wood will go to Green Energy Team, a nearby facility that turns biomass into energy.

“We really believe that when this whole thing is done there will be better opportunities for hunting, recreation and public access, and more safe, usable roads than there are now,” said Sheri Mann, a project manager at the department.

She estimated the project could cost $4 million. The department has until June 2016 to finish the project.

Area residents said they’re worried about the effects the project will have on public safety and the environment. The department will hold public hearings to address concerns around businesses, tourism and roads, Mann said.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie approved the Kokee Area Restoration and Reforestation project last year in an emergency proclamation. The project aims to ease the damage brought by three fires that burned 3,000 acres around Kokee.

The nature of the proclamation allowed the department to move forward on the project without an environmental assessment. The department is putting one together anyway; it should be available to the public later this year, Mann said.

New American Samoa law fights human trafficking

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — American Samoa’s anti-human trafficking measure will take effect in June after the acting governor signed it into law last week.

The legislation will allow the government to investigate and prosecute those who would exploit others, said Acting Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga.

There have been human trafficking cases in American Samoa recently, and the victims haven’t been limited by age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or village, Mauga said.

A decade ago, the South Korean owner of the now defunct Daewoosa Samoa garment factory and three Samoan employees were convicted of enslaving more than 200 workers from Vietnam, most of them women.

Last year, an American Samoan man was accused of bringing three women to the territory from neighboring Samoa and forcing them to perform sex acts on him.

“The past has shown that the victims are our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, our nieces and nephews, our sons and daughters, our friends and neighbors,” Mauga said. “This law is the first step to ensuring the past will not be repeated.”

The law specifically outlaws human trafficking and makes it punishable by five to 10 years in prison, with a mandatory 10 years if the trafficking involves a minor. Prosecutors previously had to depend on other statutes to prosecute cases.

The law also mandates a human trafficking task force collect data, and recommend policies and procedures.

Advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence say the law will raise awareness about behaviors that may be identified as human trafficking.

The bill, which originated with Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, was approved last year by the territorial House and endorsed by the Senate last month.

Mauga, who is lieutenant governor, is serving as acting governor while Moliga receives medical treatment in Honolulu.

Guam violent-offender registry to go public

HAGATNA, Guam — A registry that will list repeat family violence offenders in Guam is going public next week.

The registry has been in the works for nearly three years, the Pacific Daily News reported. The registry is scheduled to be launched Monday.

A 2011 law created through a bill introduced by territorial Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, D-Dededo, requires the Office of the Attorney General to keep a database of those convicted of at least two family violence offenses. A person could be placed on the registry for a first offense in some cases, such as crimes involving deadly weapons.

The registry will be retroactive to 2011, said Carlina Charfauros, a spokeswoman for the office. Someone convicted before 2011 and after also would be listed.

In cases where a conviction is expunged, the offender could be removed from the list. Those on the list also could petition to be removed.

Rodriguez said he hopes the registry protects people by providing them with knowledge. “I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

The registry will be useful for people beginning relationships, Rodriguez and Charfauros said.

“It’s targeted for people who might not know who they’re getting into a relationship with,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and Charfauros said they don’t anticipate the registry to lead to vigilante action or harassment against those who appear on it.

He hasn’t seen any violence directed at those listed on Guam’s sex-offender registry, Rodriguez said.

By local and wire sources