KEALIA – Wearing only a diaper, a two-year-old baby girl was found by passersby Sunday, as they walked the Kapaa Bike Path.
The couple, Maile Freitas and Jace Miner of Anahola, had just set out on a Sunday morning stroll when they heard crying. “I told my boyfriend I heard a baby crying, so we looked all around,” Freitas said.
Eventually, they found the baby standing near the water at the bottom of a cliff, “and my boyfriend went for to get the baby,” Freitas said through tears on Monday.
Reaching the baby, Miner said, was difficult, because the slope was steep and there was a lot of metal debris left from the flood where the baby was standing. He was worried she could have cut her feet. The only way he could reach her, he said, was to slide down on his backside.
“Someone would had to have put her down there and left her down there,” Miner said.
Once they saw where the baby was, Miner said he didn’t think twice about rescuing her. “We all did what we had to do to save the baby. It hurt my heart that someone put a baby down there,” he said.
As he brought the baby up safely, Miner said he could tell the baby had been there a long time because of how soiled her diaper was.
As soon as the baby was placed in Freitas’ arms after the rescue, she fell asleep.
While passing by on her bike, Leiola Kamalani-Oliver of Anahola saw the stunned look on Freitas’ and Miner’s faces and asked if they were okay. They explained they had just found a baby by the water.
“The experience was shocking,” Kamalani-Oliver said.“ You can’t imagine a baby by themselves. I have eight kids and 23 grand kids. It was just shocking. You can’t comprehend the whole thing,” she said.
The three of them were stunned, but after a few moments Kamalani-Oliver called first responders. “You’re just trying to wrap your head around it. You can’t imagine a mother or father doing this,” she said.
The three of them, Miner said, are happy the baby is safe and in good hands.
“We’re going to make sure the baby is safe and has a good and healthy life,” he said.
Freitas said she believes God put her in the right spot and the right time to be a blessing and an angel for the baby. “A lot of people walk on that bike path and didn’t hear the baby crying,” she said.
As the ambulance was driving away, Freitas said she began to cry, because no one should treat a baby that way.
Both Freitas and Miner said they would adopt the child and raise her as their own.
Kamalani-Oliver said she was happy that Freitas heard the baby’s cries.
“The child, a two-year-old female, was found below the path in a rocky area, approximately 300 yards north of the restrooms at Kealia Beach; she was alert and had no injuries,” said Kim Tamaoka, spokesperson for the County of Kauai.
The child was transported by medics to Wilcox Medical Center, where she was released into the custody of Child Welfare Services.
“No arrests have yet been made at this time,” Tamaoka said.
This is an ongoing investigation.
Bethany Freudenthal, Courts, Crime and County reporter, 652-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org