A teenage girl from Hawaii is now home safe, thanks to the help of some Good Samaritans she encountered at a restaurant on the other side of the island.
According to reports, Duncan Kealoha Mahi, 52, kidnapped Mikella Debina, 15, last Friday while she was enjoying a day at the beach with her boyfriend. At approximately 1:30 p.m. local time, Mahi reportedly approached the couple at Anaeho’omalu Bay Beach on the main island of Hawaii. Mahi then allegedly forced Debina at knifepoint to tie up and blindfold her boyfriend so that he could abduct her without the boyfriend's interference.
After the two disappeared, law enforcement groups immediately began a manhunt to find Mahi and Debina. In fact, the state issued its first-ever Amber Alert to help find the missing teen.
It proved to be instrumental in bringing her home. Nearly 24 hours later, folks at Hilo’s Cafe Pesto, nearly 70 miles away from Anaeho’omalu Bay Beach, were able to help rescue the girl and reunite her with her family when they recognized her from the Amber Alert.
A host at the cafe, Bridge Hartman, said he noticed that something was "off" about the young girl and the older gentleman. The dress Debinahad been wearing at the beach was discovered abandoned with her cell phone near the Kona airport, and she was now wearing ill-fitting men's clothes. She was also having a heated discussion with her companion, Hartman claimed.
"Even if it wasn’t her, my brain was like, ‘I need to get her,'" said Hartman.
"Then I realized it was her," he recalled. "And I yelled out, 'That’s the girl! That’s the Amber Alert girl!'"
Hartman then managed to free Debina from Mahi's clutches and steer her towards the rear of the restaurant for safety. Another woman at the restaurant helped her call her mother.
Her mother, Cherese “Cher” Angelel, called the helpful restaurant employees and patrons "heroes" who had "ripped [Mikella] from her abductor." Though shaken up by the events, Mikella is otherwise reported to be "in good health."
Mahi did manage to escape from the cafe, but police located him soon afterwards and placed him under arrest for kidnapping. He also had other outstanding warrants for which they arrested him.