One fugitive down, one to go


By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

Police continued their manhunt on Saturday for one of two men accused of escaping from Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Wednesday after allegedly beating up an unarmed 63-year-old guard and stealing the car of the jail’s law librarian.

Ryan Jeffries-Hamar, 31, of Kailua-Kona remained at large at press time Saturday night. The other inmate, 35-year-old Jarvis Higa of Hilo, was taken into custody Friday night near a home on Paradise Parkway in Ocean View by a task force of Hawaii County Police and a state Sheriff’s deputy assigned to Kona.

Higa was charged Saturday afternoon with first-degree escape, kidnapping, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery, third-degree property damage and auto theft. A police bulletin stated that he would likely be arraigned Monday in Hilo District Court.

He’s being held without bail at the Hilo police cell block.

Capt. Robert Wagner of South Hilo Patrol said that “information from a reliable source” led to the Friday night raid in the remote Ka‘u community.

“We paid them a visit at roughly about 8 o’clock last (Friday) night and there was more than one individual who ran from those, like, two homes, two shacks on that individual property. And one of those individuals who did run went through those lava rocks, but he was apprehended. … That was Mr. Higa.”

Asked how Higa got to Ocean View, about 80 miles away from the jail, Wagner replied, “I do believe he drove there.”

“He didn’t steal a car to drive there, but we do believe he drove to that location,” Wagner said. Police found Higa’s own car abandoned in Keaukaha Thursday night, Lt. Greg Esteban told the Tribune-Herald on Friday.

Higa and Jeffries-Hamar may also face charges for a Kaumana Drive home burglarized during the massive manhunt on Wednesday. Police believe the pair broke into the house to steal food and civilian clothes. Another Kaumana home was burglarized on Thursday, as well.

“We haven’t pinned that one on them yet,” Wagner said.

Capt. Chad Basque of the Kona Criminal Investigations Section told Stephens Media on Friday that police believe that Jeffries-Hamar is also in West Hawaii.

“We have a couple of areas that we are checking on right now as far as the location of Jeffries-Hamar,” Wagner said on Saturday. He declined to be more specific, but he said both the East and West Hawaii manhunt task forces are still in operation.

The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the state’s correctional facilities, also operates the state Sheriff’s Division. DPS spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said Saturday morning that having a deputy on the task force was “not something we did just for the manhunt.”

“Every county, we have sheriff’s deputies teamed up with the police,” she said. “… They’re a warrant team. That just happened to be the team that caught him.”

Higa is awaiting trial on an attempted murder charge for allegedly shooting at and missing a 34-year-old Hilo man in Keaukaha in July. He also faces felony firearms charges. His attorney has filed a request in Hilo Circuit Court to delay the trial. That motion is also scheduled to be heard on Monday.

Jeffries-Hamar is facing another escape charge for allegedly walking away from the community-based Hale Nani Correctional Facility in August. Hale Nani is an unwalled facility in Hilo that attempts to re-integrate inmates with little time left on their sentences into society.

Jeffries-Hamar was one of four inmates who escaped from Hale Nani in the period of a month. He was apprehended in Kona a month later.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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