The Hawai`i Police Department continues to ask for the public’s assistance and continue to search for a missing six-year-old Hilo boy.
A multi-agency search effort has yielded minimal results during an extensive search for Benjamin Rapoza, who was last seen at a residence in the 2100 block of Kalanianaole Street at around 3 p.m. on Friday.
Rapoza is described as local, standing about three-feet tall, weighing about 50 pounds. He has a slim build with short brown hair, brown eyes, and a fair complexion. He was last seen wearing only a diaper.
Police are concerned for his welfare as Benjamin is diagnosed with nonverbal autism.
Saturday’s efforts included personnel and assets from the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, U.S. Coast Guard, “Team Adam” from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, both Area I and II Criminal Investigations Divisions, and South Hilo Patrol.
Community members and concerned citizens from the Keaukaha and Hilo areas also volunteered to assist in searching for “Benny.”
Rain and heightened ocean swells hampered portions of the search and posed a navigation hazard to the fire department’s rescue vessel, requiring it return to shore. Neither the vessel nor the personnel onboard sustained damages or injuries.
“We are truly grateful to the incredible response from the community during the search for Benny. While we encourage the public’s assistance, we do not want any injuries or mishaps, so please be vigilant of the ocean conditions and do not place your personal safety at risk.” said Captain Greg Esteban, Commander of the Area I Criminal Investigations Division.
Police continue to ask anyone with information on Benjamin’s whereabouts or may have seen him in the Keaukaha areas to call the Detective BJ Sagon at (808) 961-8883 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
HPD provided photo.