Hawaii County Police Department Release:
Big Island Police are investigating the death of a 19-month-old girl in Hilo.
At about 6:57 p.m. on January 2, South Hilo patrol officers responded to Hilo Medical Center to a report of an unresponsive infant who had been transported there by an adult.
The preliminary examination indicated injuries that appeared suspicious in nature. The infant was transferred to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu and was listed in critical condition. Due to the nature of the injuries, police initiated an assault case.
At about 9:20 p.m. on that same date, police arrested 36-year-old Xavier Cortez of Hilo on suspicion of first-degree assault. On January 4 at about 2:30 p.m., detectives released Cortez pending further investigation.
On Sunday, (January 9) at about 6:30 p.m., the infant, identified as Pomaikai K. Ferreira, was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday (January 11) to determine the exact cause of death.
Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation and are awaiting the results of the autopsy. Detectives from the Honolulu Police Department are assisting in the investigation, as the death occurred in their jurisdiction.
Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Detective Norbert Serrao at 961-2383 or Detective Derek Morimoto at 961-2380.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. ***Update: the police have now classified this as a homicide.