Little Emily Lemaholo kidnapped to Kauai

About the 11th of December 1900, Emily Lemaholo — a little Hawaiian girl — was abducted from her Honolulu home by a Native Hawaiian woman who took her to Honolulu Harbor, where a witness who knew Emily observed the child crying bitterly while the woman pulled her aboard the steamer “Keauhou” bound for Kauai.

When that witness informed Emily’s mother shortly thereafter of the kidnapping and gave her a description of the woman, Mrs. Lemaholo requested a warrant at the Honolulu police station for the arrest of the woman, which was issued and sent to Kauai with orders that she be found, taken into custody and returned to Honolulu with Emily.

After the woman, named Martha, learned Kauai police were looking for Emily’s abductor, she put Emily on the steamship “Kauai” just as it was leaving Eleele Landing for Honolulu — and John Bruhn, captain of the “Kauai,” seeing that the girl was crying, frightened and alone, took pity and gave up his cabin to her.

The next morning, December 15, Emily and her mother were happily reunited at the Honolulu police station and Emily also confirmed Martha’s description.

Martha was arrested on the charge of child stealing, brought to Honolulu on Dec. 21, and locked up pending an appearance in police court on the 22nd.

During the afternoon of the 21st, Martha and Mrs. Lemaholo met, talked — and as improbable as it may seem, exchanged alohas — whereupon Mrs. Lemaholo informed police she was sorry she’d sworn a warrant against Martha and insisted that she no longer wanted to press charges.

Police then released Martha on her own recognizance, but required her to appear in court the following day.

Martha did show up at court, but when her name was called she’d disappeared.

A strange case indeed — for it seems that Martha then vanished from the public eye, and it remains a mystery why Martha kidnapped Emily, and also why Mrs. Lemaholo dropped the charges against her.


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