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Family of young man swept away at Makapuu grateful for a ‘lifetime of moments’

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:20 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - His parents describe Malik Estrella-Clark Dobson as a welcoming soul, a great brother, and someone who could bring people together.

When Brandy and Clifton Dobson got the call that their 24-year-old son was missing after swimming at Makapuu Beach, they rushed from their home in Pearl City.

And when first responders paused the search for the night, the Dobsons and their friends and family stayed behind. They held their flashlights toward the ocean, scanning the surface, and acting as the shore’s lighthouse.

“We wanted to keep the lights there so he knew that we were still searching for him,” Clifton Dobson said.

“We thought we could show the flashlight,” Brandy Dobson said. “So he could know that we were waiting for him.”

Dobson’s relatives and friends who were with him when he disappeared said the young man was swimming and bodysurfing when the undertow got the best of him. He tried to pull himself onto some rocks to escape the surf, but waves took him back to the ocean.

He was strong, familiar with the area, but underestimated the surf.

The search stopped one week later. Malik Dobson was never found.

He had two brothers and two sisters. His parents say they believe every one of his siblings would likely consider him their favorite.

“He would reach out to everyone, he made everyone feel like that ― special,” said Brandy Dobson.

He was also a strong, talented athlete. The Dobsons have countless home videos of their son’s highlight reel. He moved to Hilo at 18 and had aspirations to eventually become a nurse or seek other work where he could help people.

Brandy Dobson is a self-proclaimed “embarrassing mom,” too. And much to her children’s chagrin, takes her camera out everywhere.

Now more than ever, she and her husband appreciate the bins of photos of their son.

“I didn’t want them to grow so fast,” Brandy Dobson said. “I feel blessed. I really have a lifetime of moments captured I’ll always have.”

The Dobsons said they will be planning a celebration of life soon.

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