By Samantha Higbee
My husband, Kainalu Higbee, is missing on Maui since 2022. We have three children together Kaʻilike, Konapiliahi, and Kauʻi. We think about Kai every day. He loved his family and was a good father. Our entire ʻohana misses him and there are no words to describe not having him home with us or not knowing what happened.
Kainalu was last seen leaving his mother’s home on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022. Four days later, his truck was found abandoned at the Sunrise Cafe parking structure in Lahaina. The door was unlocked, and his wallet, along with his driver’s license, debit/credit cards and an unopened pack of cigarettes were on the front seat. The beginning of the worst days of our lives.
Early in the investigation, the detective assigned to Kai’s case seemed inattentive and not much was done. There was a lack of care. One day the detective told me, “Don’t worry he will be home, he’s probably just out doing drugs.” I couldn’t believe he was serious, that he would say this to our worried, heartbroken family.
At one point we pushed the Maui Police Department (MPD) to collect footage from surveillance cameras facing Front St. in Lahaina to see if it was really Kai who drove and parked his truck at Sunrise Cafe.
The detective told me there were no cameras facing Front St. I didn’t believe him, so I posted about it on Facebook. A friend saw the post and told me a realty office at the wharf had cameras facing Front Street. I told the detective about it, but he called me later saying that the cameras had already taped over the week we needed. As the months go by, there is still no sign of Kai. No new leads. No answers. No one has come forward with information.
Kai is from Lahaina, and he has a twin brother named Kaʻunalu (see photo). Sadly, his family home burned down in the recent wildfires and his family was displaced.
Our family is hoping that one day we will embrace you, Kai, filling our lives with the completeness only you can bring. Until that day comes, we will persevere with unwavering hope and love. You are missed beyond measure, and our hearts ache for you every day.
MPD announced in November that they have launched a dedicated Cold Case Detail, Charlie Detail, that focuses on unsolved homicides and missing person cases. The community is encouraged to provide information or leads related to unsolved homicides or missing persons cases on Maui.
To report information, email email@example.com or call 808-270-5575. “Our goal is to bring closure to the families affected by these unsolved crimes and ensure that justice is served by holding perpetrators accountable,” Police Chief John Pelletier said.
Kainalu’s Police Report is #22-015637. Please call MPD with any information. We have a go-fund-me to provide a reward for information about his disappearance: https://bit.ly/40EfJsk.