Family of Hawaii teen abducted, held captive seeks community’s support in courtroom

The man accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl and holding her captive inside a bus on his Hilo property in September will be back in court this week.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 1:57 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 4:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The man accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl and holding her captive inside a bus on his Hilo property in September will be back in court this week.

Duncan Mahi is facing nearly a dozen charges, including kidnapping, robbery and terroristic threatening. The 52-year-old remains in jail after a judge revoked his bond ahead of a competency hearing Thursday.

Meanwhile, the teenage survivor and her family say they’re prepared to face Mahi in court.

‘They want people to show up’

Fifteen-year-old Mikella and her family are adamant they don’t want the community to forget about the teen’s abduction. So they’re inviting the public to join them at Thursday’s hearing.

“They want people to show up,” said attorney Jeffrey Foster. “Come and see how the prosecution plays out.”

It’s a message Foster was asked to share on behalf Mikella and her family. The girl’s mother also gave Hawaii News Now permission to use her first name and her picture for this story.

“Being part of a criminal prosecution as a victim or a victim’s family is nothing I would wish on anyone,” Foster said. “To have that support of family, friends, people they don’t even know, to come to these court hearings, that’s huge.”

‘She had her wits about her’

In September, Mikella and her boyfriend were at Anaehoomalu Bay when Mahi allegedly robbed the pair at knife-point before forcing the teen to restrain her boyfriend with zip ties.

Court records show the suspect then drove the girl to the opposite side of the island and held her captive overnight in an abandoned bus on his property.

The community came out in droves to search for the girl after law enforcement issued a Maile Amber alert.

Mikella was found the following day after officials say she convinced the suspect to take her to get food, escaping with the help of restaurant workers who recognized her.

“She had her wits about her. She was thinking. She’s so smart,” said Foster.

Mikella’s family also wants to share this lengthy statement with the community:

“We thank God for the gift of our daughter and her safe return. We thank our family, friends, and community for coming together to support us in the search and rescue efforts and for coming to court hearings.

Mikella is a brilliant young woman who amazes us each day with her bravery and resilience. We hope Mikella’s courage, calculated thinking, and strength will inspire other victims and their families. We also hope the prosecutors’ efforts and the ruling by Judge DeWeese to revoke the abductor’s bail sends a clear message that crimes against our children will not be tolerated in our community.

Words can’t express the gratitude we feel for the prayers, support and aloha we have received throughout this nightmare. Knowing that we will be surrounded by the love and support of our community, provides a sense of comfort and security to our family as we attend these court hearings. We invite everyone to attend the next court hearing scheduled for Jan. 26 at 8:30 a.m. at the Kona courthouse.

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to mahalo the Hawaii police and fire departments, FBI, prosecutors, Judge DeWeese and her staff, Bridge Hartmand, Kori Takaki and others at Cafe Pesto for your quick thinking and heroic actions, Paradise and Blue Hawaiian helicopter who provided air search resources, everyone who helped search, prayed for our family, sent messages of hope and encouragement, and to all who have and will show their support at court hearings.”

Teen prepared to testify

Foster said the family is hopeful Mahi is found fit to move forward with the trial.

“Mikella is prepared to testify,” he told HNN. “With that said, I think what would be best for all parties involved is for the defendant to take responsibility for what he’s done.”

Duncan Mahi has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts.

HNN reached out to his attorney ahead of Thursday’s hearing. He declined to comment.