Invisible Children

Girl by Hyacinth Poouahi

Content note: Case narratives include descriptions of severe violence inflicted on children, including abuse and neglect, sexual violence, torture, and murder, as well as mentions of suicide and domestic violence. They also include photos of victims and perpetrators of violence.

A.C., a 10-year-old girl, was starved and tortured with the knowledge of her caregiver, Hyacinth Poouahi (pictured left). A.C. was homeschooled.

A.C., then age 9, was dropped off at Poouahi’s home in November 2004 by her biological mother, Crystal McGrath, who was a friend of Poouahi. Three education professionals at A.C.’s school, Keonepoko Elementary School, all reported suspicions of abuse to the school principal Kathleen Romero, who did not report the abuse to the authorities. After winter break, A.C. did not return to school as Poouahi claimed to be homeschooling her for medical reasons. Instead, Poouahi, her husband Jaime Soares, her 13-year-old son Hans Poouahi Jr. (pictured right), and possibly other people in the home, subjected A.C. to torture. She was starved and deprived of water, “forced to eat cockroaches and Froot Loops mixed with chili peppers,” bound until she developed bedsores, burned with a cigarette lighter, stabbed in the ankle with a steak knife, had her hand broken and her lip and head cut open.

The abuse came to light when Poouahi called paramedics to report A.C.’s injuries. A.C. spent six weeks in a coma and, 5 years later, was “severely speech- and hearing-impaired, blind in one eye, walks with a limp and has facial disfigurement.” Hans Poouahi Jr. “was convicted as a juvenile and housed at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility until he turned 19 years-old.” Hyacinth Poouahi pleaded guilty to assault, unlawful imprisonment, and child endangerment; she was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Date: February 7, 2005
‘Ainaloa, Hawaii


Documents: Date:
911 tape indicates girl fell ill rapidly 02-22-2005
Big Island child’s caretaker pleads not guilty 12-30-2005
Missing teen was accused of abuse 08-28-2008
Lawsuit settled over abused girl 02-25-2010
Marshals arrest fugitive in child abuse case 2011
Deputy prosecutor retires this month 11-18-2012
Prosecutors push for added protections in light of child abuse cases on Hawaii island 07-26-2017