LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Police Department identified the remains that were found last year along the mountain trail behind Kalepa Village apartments off Hulei Road in Hanama‘ulu as Harry Higashi Jr.
Due to the public’s assistance, KPD was able to make a positive identification. Higashi’s family members provided DNA samples to compare with the remains, and through the use of KPD’s Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID SystemTM from Thermo Fisher Scientific — a new, advanced form of DNA technology — an accurate identification was made in a timely fashion.
“First of all, I want to express my deepest condolences to Harry’s family,” sid KPD Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce, in charge of the Investigative Services Bureau.
” I also want to express my sincere gratitude to the public for their help. After we asked for the public’s help in identifying the remains, I received many phone calls, as well as a number of anonymous tips that came through our Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i P3 Tips app, that collectively led to our ability to solve this case and bring closure to the family,” Ponce said.
”I also want to thank our detectives and our Crime Scene and Laboratory Section for working so diligently on this over the past year.”
KPD had been conducting extensive research and DNA analysis in an attempt to identify the remains since they were discovered, including referencing missing-persons cases.
Higashi had not been reported as a missing person, and was believed to have been affiliated with a former camp near where his remains were discovered.
His remains were discovered on June 11, 2019, about 25 yards south of the paved mountain trail, by a group of individuals who had been cutting trees for firewood. The case is classified as an unattended death and no foul play is suspected.
“This individual wasn’t connected to a missing-person case, but we haven’t forgotten the individuals who, to this day, remain missing,” Ponce said.
“We will continue our efforts to bring closure to the families who are still missing their loved ones. Please remember that you can report an anonymous tip at any time to Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i.”
To report an anonymous tip, call Crime Stoppers Kaua‘i at 246-8300 or visit crimestopperskauai.org, where the P3 Tips app may be downloaded.