7-27-22 Puna Officer Honored for Role in Finding Lost Child    | #missingkids

Hawai‘i Police Department
Puna Patrol
Captain Scott Amaral
Phone: (808) 965-2716

Media Release

A recent police recruit, just two weeks into his new assignment as a solo patrol officer, played a pivotal role in locating a missing five-year-old autistic girl just minutes after she was reported missing. For his keen observations and quick thinking during the incident, Officer Keao Fessenden-Grace was honored as Officer of the Month for May 2022 by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai‘i during a ceremony Thursday, July 14, 2022, in Hilo. 

On April 29, 2022, at 5:55 a.m., police responded to a report of a missing child in the Puna subdivision of Ainaloa. The parent reported that they discovered their daughter was missing from their home when they woke up and that the child was last seen wearing unicorn print rainbow pants and pink t-shirt.

About the same time, Officer Fessenden-Grace was at his residence preparing for his shift, when he heard the sound of a bell and a child’s voice coming from his neighbors’ house across the street. As he left for work, he saw a young female child, about five years old wearing a pink shirt and pink pajama pants, standing on his neighbor’s front porch. Officer Fessenden-Grace thought to himself that he had not seen that child at his neighbor’s residence before.

As he pulled out of his driveway and headed to work, Officer Fessenden-Grace activated his department-issued Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) in order to get a head start on the day’s bulletins.

He had driven just 100 yards down the road when an active call appeared on the MDT screen about a missing child in his neighborhood with the same description as the child he had just observed.

Officer Fessenden-Grace conducted a U-turn and proceeded back to his neighbor’s house while notifying dispatch that he believed he located the missing child. As he approached the residence, he saw the child had left the front porch and was walking in the neighbor’s front yard. 

Safely located, the young girl was returned to her parents unharmed. All in all, the child was located within 17 minutes from the time her parent became aware she was missing and six minutes after she was reported missing to police. In that short amount of time, the child had traveled .7 miles, (6-7 blocks), from her residence before being located.

Officer Fessenden-Grace’s attention to his surroundings and his commitment in using his MDT to review active calls while on his way to work prevented possible harm to the child and averted a potential major crisis. His actions demonstrate the department’s core values of integrity, professionalism, compassion, teamwork, and community satisfaction. 

Pictured: Aloha Exchange Club member Sylvia Belcher with Officer Keao Fesseden-Grace.

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