A Hawaiian community came together to help find an abducted 15-year-old girl in under 24 hours.
Mikella Debina and her boyfriend went to the beach on Friday when a man allegedly held the couple at knifepoint. In an interview with WJHG-TV, Laurene Debina, the victim’s aunt explained “he had my niece tie up her boyfriend, blindfold him, and then took her.”
Immediately after the teenager was taken, the police and family members began searching desperately for her.
After approximately 20 hours of searching, Debina was found on Saturday in good health. The community was aware of the AMBER alert issued and some good samaritans discovered Debina inside a restaurant. Debina had smartly convinced her captor to take her inside the restaurant where she was recognized leading to her rescue.
The incredible story of her recovery happened at Cafe Pesto in Hilo, Hawaii. The host, Bridge Hartman, first noticed something wasn’t right when he saw Debina with the man. Hartman immediately thought she could be the missing girl from the AMBER alert and watched closely.
“Something is off. Even if it wasn’t her, my brain was like, ‘I need to get her,’” Hartman said, explaining Debina and the man at the table were fighting. Debina was told to stay in the car, but get out anyway which caused the fight in the restaurant.
Hartman went on to say “then, I realized it was her. And I yelled out, ‘That’s the girl. That’s the AMBER Alert girl.’” The host was able to escort the girl to the back of the restaurant into a safe area.
Hartman told Hawaii News Now, ‘She was saying, ‘He kidnapped me, he kidnapped me. Thank you. And I just got into the office. Got her water.”
A patron of the restaurant, Kori Takaki, also helped save Debina, getting her safely home to her mother.
Kori Takaki, who was eating at the restaurant at the time, also assisted and helped Debina reach her mom.
Debina’s mother released a statement after the rescue thanking the community, Takaki and Hartman for rescuing her daughter.
“Kori Takaki — she is our hero, as well as another young man who ripped her away from this abductor,” she said. “Our friend stepped in, and she’s with the … police now.”
The community came together to help find the missing girl and was there when Debina and her mother reunited, cheering in response.