Invisible Children

Isabella Kalua

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.

Isabella Kalua

Isabella Kalua, age 6, disappeared from the home of her adoptive parents, Isaac K. “Sonny” Kalua III and Lehua Kalua. Isabella was homeschooled.

Isabella was born Ariel Sellers to Melanie Joseph and Adam Sellers, who also had four other daughters. The five girls were removed from Joseph’s home due to their parents’ drug use; one girl went to live with a family member while Ariel and her other three sisters were fostered by the Kaluas. Isaac Kalua had several felony convictions for assault and terroristic threatening; investigators are trying to determine how Ariel and her sisters were placed with the Kaluas. The Kaluas changed Ariel’s name to Isabella and eventually adopted her. In October 2019, the Kaluas delayed seeking treatment after Isabella broke her finger. According to the Kaluas, Isabella’s hand was slammed in a door. In January 2020, Isabella went to the ER with a broken leg, which the Kaluas claimed was related to jumping on a trampoline. Both injuries were investigated by child services who determined there was no maltreatment. During the 2020-2021 school year, Isabella was enrolled in kindergarten at Waimanalo Elementary via distance learning. However, in June 2021, “her adoptive parents filed paperwork to withdraw the child and home-school her.”

According to the Kaluas, Isabella had a habit of leaving the house at night to sleep in the yard. On September 12, 2021, Isabella disappeared from the Kaluas’ home. The Kaluas reported her disappearance the following day, claiming that she was abducted or wandered off. According to Joseph, a boy in Isabella’s class said he had not seen her in a week; it’s unclear what class she meant. Joseph’s family, including Isabella’s biological aunt Lana Idao, organized a massive search for Isabella, according to family spokesperson Jamie Kumai. The Kaluas did not participate in the search. The search was suspended September 20 and Isabella’s three sisters were removed from the Kaluas’ custody. The investigation is ongoing.

Date: September 12, 2021
Waimanalo, Oahu, Hawaii


Documents: Date:
‘We’re trying to hold on’: Family of missing six-year-old in Waimanalo stay hopeful as search continues 09-15-2021
Foster care expert says missing 6-year-old’s adoptive placement raises red flags 09-16-2021
Missing 6-year-old girl had been pulled out of Waimanalo Elementary School 09-16-2021
Tearful vigil held for Isabella Kalua as police suspend search efforts 09-20-2021
Missing girl had serious injuries investigated by state in past 2 years 09-20-2021
Honolulu police suspend search for missing 6-year-old Isabella Kalua 09-20-2021
Police Suspend Search for Missing 6-Year-Old Girl in Hawaii 09-21-2021