Bail maintained for kidnapping suspect

  • Duncan Mahi appears on video at the Hilo courthouse on Tuesday.

  • MAHI

The 15-year-old victim of the Big Island’s first-ever AMBER Alert suffered a harrowing ordeal at the hands of her abductor, according to court documents.

The victim told police that on Friday afternoon, 52-year-old Duncan Kealoha Mahi walked up to her and her 15-year-old boyfriend at a secluded portion of Anaehoomalu Beach in South Kohala, brandished a knife and demanded money.

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According to the victim, Mahi took her money, about $50, as well as her and her boyfriend’s cellphones. After threatening the girl with the knife at her throat, Mahi then ordered her to zip-tie and tape her boyfriend’s legs and hands together, documents state, telling her if her boyfriend got loose, she would die.

After leading her through a kiawe thicket and a lava field to the back beach parking lot, Mahi reportedly broke the victim’s boyfriend’s cellphone. He then allegedly forced the victim into a white Honda sport-utility vehicle and forced her to smoke methamphetamine as they drove toward Hilo, documents state.

According to the victim, Mahi made her perform sexual acts on him as he was driving over the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, and then forced her to smoke meth again. Though the victim’s name was widely disseminated via the AMBER Alert, West Hawaii Today is not including her name in stories to protect the victim’s identity.

The girl then pretended to sleep until they reached Mahi’s Hilo property, where he led her to a yellow bus behind the house, documents state. There, he tethered her left ankle with a tight fabric cuff she was unable to break, which was attached to a cable that allowed her to move around only a short distance.

On Saturday, the victim persuaded Mahi to take her to Cafe Pesto to eat during lunch time, where she was able to escape, police said.

According to Hawaii News Now, Bridge Hartman, a Cafe Pesto host, recognized the victim and yelled, “That’s the girl! That’s the AMBER alert girl!” When Mahi loosened his grip on the victim, Hartman grabbed the girl and took her inside the restaurant.

Mahi then fled, and a witness took a photo of Mahi’s SUV, including the license plate number, and gave it to police. Mahi was later arrested, and a search warrant was executed on his Waiakea Uka property.

“I’ve been called a ‘hero’ so many times, but if someone were to ask me who my hero was, it’s [name redacted],” Hartman, who’s well-known as an actor and singer in community theater productions, said on Facebook. “… She fought for her life and succeeded.”

“I’m just happy she’s home safe,” Hartman said in a separate post.

Mahi is charged with sex assault of a minor, first-degree sex assault, two counts each of third-degree sex assault, kidnapping, robbery and terroristic threatening, plus methamphetamine trafficking.

At Mahi’s initial court appearance Tuesday, Hilo District Judge Jeffrey Hawk maintained Mahi’s bail at $2,000,030 and ordered him to appear for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Kona District Court.

Mahi remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Email John Burnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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