Search Continues for Missing 6-Year-Old Boy

December 21, 2019, 7:45 AM HST
* Updated December 21, 8:33 AM
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Benny Rapoza (PC: Hawai’i County Police Department)

Benny Rapoza (PC: Tabitha Marcelo)

The search continues for a 6-year-old boy who went missing Dec. 20. The child is diagnosed with nonverbal autism and needs immediate care.

Hawai‘i County Police, Hawai‘i County Fire, the US Coast Guard as well as a tracking dog have been looking for Benny Rapoza throughout the night. Family and community members around the island have also been searching for Benny, who was last seen in the Keaukaha area at a residence on the 2100 block of Kalanianaole Avenue at approximately 3 p.m. on Dec. 20.

“HPD is holding over the Midnight shift and bringing in plainclothes officers as well to continue a ground search this morning during daylight,” said Hawai‘i County Police Assistant Chief Samuel Thomas.

The other entities involved will also continue their efforts this morning.

Benny’s sister Tabitha Marcelo posted photos of her brother to social media Friday evening. Marcelo has been out all night.


This morning, she says she plans to search “everything and everywhere down Keaukaha.”


“We need him back home,” she added. “He must be so scared out there!”

Benny is described as Caucasian, 3-feet tall, 40 pounds with brown eyes and short brown hair, thin build and having a fair complexion. He was last seen bareback and wearing a diaper.

Marcelo suggests to anyone assisting in the search to play the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song.


“He loves SpongeBob with a passion,” she said. “I’ve been playing it all night.”

If you spot Benny, call 911.

Anyone with information on the child’s whereabouts is also asked to call Detective BJ Sagon at 808-961-8883 or email [email protected]

More updates on this story will be posted as soon as they become available.

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