Child abuse is reported every 10 seconds. How often is it unreported? Five to six children die each day as a result of child abuse or neglect.
A four-year-old Wailuku boy was brought to Maui Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room at 10:55 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29. The boy was unresponsive and gray in color, "meaning that he was dead on arrival," according to an affidavit by the police Detective Stephen Orikasa.
The next day, Maui County Coroner's Physician Dr. Alvin Omori performed an autopsy, finding that Zion died of blunt force trauma to his abdomen. The examination also found numerous bruises and abrasions on the boy's arms, legs, face, back, chest, neck and back of head.
"All injuries were new and caused just prior to his time of death," according to the affidavit.
The staff and leadership of Imua Family Services and Women Helping Women are shocked, saddened and deeply grieved by this tragic act of violence resulting in this young boy's death.
"Imua's staff work every day with children who suffer trauma that results in developmental delays, many times the trauma's may be that children are witness to, or a part of domestic violence in their own homes, what has happened here with Zion is tragic and our worst nightmare," said Imua Family Services Executive Director Dean Wong. "We are deeply moved."
Women Helping Women is Maui's domestic violence agency providing advocacy, education, prevention and emergency shelter services for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
"In Maui County no child should suffer this kind of brutality, this or any kind of violence, people need to know there are options for safety, there is shelter from violence, but it takes us as adults to take a stand for our children and to be their voice, our goal is to make every home a safe home," said Women Helping Women Executive Director Stacey Moniz.
Together our agencies are calling for the public to help us remember the life of Zion, and peacefully protest acts of violence towards our islands keiki. We are asking those who want to participate to meet at the Weinberg Building at 1935 Main St. in Wailuku across from Minit Stop, at 4 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, June 8). Together we will walk up to the Court House Courtyard at High Street where we will have a prayer and moment of silence for Zion.
Today Imua Family Services provides comprehensive early childhood development services to children and their families with the support and resources needed to achieve their full potential in life. Each year, over 2,500 community members on Maui and Lanai receive support from Imua Family Services through the Infant & Child Development Program, Early Childhood Development Program, Newborn Hearing Screening, and Camp Imua.
If you would like more information about Imua Family Services, please visit our website at www.imuafamilyservices.org or call 244-7467.