Police expect to be on ‘hot seat’ at West Side meeting

LIHU’E — Kaua’i police brass will meet with the public tonight to discuss

investigations into two unsolved crimes in West Kaua’i that have put some

residents on edge and have brought others to the brink of arming themselves for

protection.

Kaua’i police are continuing their investigations into the

murder of 38-year-old Lisa Bissell, whose semi-nude body was found in a ditch

in Kekaha on April 7.

Police also are investigating the May 22 stabbing and

thwarted sexual assault of a 52-year-old Kekaha woman in Kekaha.

KPD Lt.

Bill Ching, who heads KPD’s Adult Investigations Section, said he expects

criticism because no arrests have been made in either case.

“It is going

to a be a hot seat,” Ching said. “We expect the criticism. Unfortunately, we

have to preserve the integrity of the case (and cannot discuss the case).”

In the Bissell case, six suspects were taken in for questioning, but all

were released because there was insufficient evidence to hold any for the

crime.

No suspects, Ching said, have been taken in for questioning for the

attack of the 52-year-old woman, whose name was not released. Because of an

ongoing investigation, KPD can’t discuss the details of the cases at the public

meeting, said KPD Chief Police Chief George Freitas.

“It will be a generic

overview.”

Expected to attend the scheduled 6:30 p.m. meeting at the

Waimea Neighborhood Center will be Freitas, KPD Patrol Inspector Paul

Hurley, who is expected to discuss safety precautions, Lt. Wilfred Ihu, who

heads the Waimea Kaua’i police substation, Ching and Lt. Alvin Seto, who will

give a presentation on the Crime Stoppers Program.

In both cases, the

women who were attacked were slight of build and were Caucasian, raising

speculation by police the murder and the stabbing might been committed by the

same person.

“Other than the fact that both victims had similar physical

characteristics, police have no concrete evidence to link both cases, Ching

said.

In the May 22 assault, the 52-year-old woman was stabbed in the

abdomen and had an arm broken during an attack at a home on Kaumuali’i Highway

in Kekaha.

Police have classified the incident as an attempted

murder.

Police said the woman, a caretaker, was working in the yard of the

home when a local man reportedly climbed the wall of the home and attacked the

woman between 6 and 7 p.m.

She apparently broke away from her assailant

and was later transported to the Kaua’i Veterans Memorial Hospital in stable

condition.

The woman stayed at the hospital for her recovery from her

injuries and was released.

In the Bissell case, an autopsy showed there was

semen in her body before she was killed, suggesting she was either raped or

consented to sex a day before her death.

Because the case is still under

investigation, results of the autopsy and the cause of death have not been

released.

Bissell’s body was discovered by two fishermen in an irrigation

ditch along a haul cane road located about a mile east of Polihale State

Park.

Following both incidents, some West Kaua’i residents voiced concerns

about their safety, cutting back on early morning and evening activities.

Some said they were considering buying weapons because they felt police

services were not adequate in West Kaua’i.

Kaua’i police said the west side

traditionally has had little crime, but no part of the island is insulated from

crime due partly to increased drug use and changing values in society.

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