By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A task force of local police and a state sheriff’s deputy wrapped up an eight-day manhunt late Thursday night with the capture of the second of two men who allegedly escaped from Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Dec. 5.
Ryan Jeffries-Hamar, 31, of Kailua-Kona was arrested at approximately 10:40 p.m. Thursday at a home in the Hawaiian Beaches subdivision of Pahoa.
“He struggled a little bit, but it was no problem. We had enough guys to deal with it,” South Hilo Patrol Capt. Robert Wagner said Friday. He said the task force was able to apprehend Jeffries-Hamar without injuring him.
On Friday, Jeffries-Hamar was charged with first-degree escape, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery, kidnapping, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, auto theft and third-degree criminal property damage. He is being held without bail at the Hilo police cellblock pending his initial appearance Monday afternoon in Hilo District Court.
Police also arrested 30-year-old Tyler Tzovarras of Pahoa, aka Tyler O’Neil, at the Hawaiian Beaches house on suspicion of first-degree hindering prosecution, as well as for an outstanding bench warrant. He was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution for his role in allegedly harboring and assisting Jeffries-Hamar while he was on the lam. He was also charged with contempt of court on an outstanding warrant. His bail was set at $10,800.
Wagner said there was a third individual at the Kawakawa Street home, but that person wasn’t arrested.
In addition, 40-year-old Elizabeth Maile Medeiros of Captain Cook, aka Maile Medriros, was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution for allegedly providing transportation and clothing for Jeffries-Hamar while he was at large.
Medeiros was arrested Thursday while in Kona Circuit Court on an unrelated matter. She is in the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $2,000 bail pending her initial court appearance scheduled for Monday in Kona District Court.
Earlier Thursday, police received multiple reports placing Jeffries-Hamar in Kona. Police tracked him from Kona to Puna after an investigation revealed that he’d left Kona as a passenger on a motorcycle operated by Tzovarras.
“They drove through the district of Ka‘u heading toward the Puna direction,” Wagner said. “So as more information came in, we conducted checks at a couple of locations in the Puna district, and we conducted a check at 10:40 Thursday night — this was the house on Kawakawa Street — and that’s when we located him. He was hiding in the bedroom within the home.”
Court documents filed by police state that another inmate, 35-year-old Jarvis Higa of Hilo, choked an unarmed 63-year-old corrections officer while Jeffries-Hamar allegedly punched the man several times and stole his keys to the jail.
The guard, Roberto Paulino, reportedly suffered a neck injury and a bruised eye. He was treated for his injuries at Hilo Medical Center and released.
Jeffries-Hamar allegedly took car keys belonging to HCCC’s law librarian, Wendy Osborne, and the pair “forcibly kicked open a gate” leading from the HCCC law library to the parking lot — causing more than $1,000 in damage — before stealing Osborne’s car to make their escape. Osborne was reportedly traumatized but not physically hurt.
The car was later found ditched at the mauka end of Kukuau Street in the Sunrise Ridge subdivision in Hilo.
A massive manhunt was staged, and police arrested Higa the night of Dec. 7 at 92-9176 Paradise Parkway in Ocean View after receiving a public tip.
A preliminary hearing for Higa is scheduled for Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Hilo District Court on charges of first-degree escape, kidnapping, second-degree assault, second-degree robbery, auto theft and third-degree criminal property damage.
Higa, who is also scheduled to stand trial on April 15 on attempted murder and firearms charges, is being held without bail at Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu. Those charges stem from a July incident in which Higa allegedly shot and missed a man in Keaukaha.
State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said in a Friday email that DPS also plans to transfer Jeffries-Hamar to Halawa. Prior to the escape, Jeffries-Hamar was awaiting trial for an August escape from Hale Nani, a community-based facility in Hilo. He was arrested in Kona about a month later.
In a written statement, police said that they’re considering additional charges against other individuals who assisted both Higa and Jeffries-Hamar.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.