East Hawaii News

Puna Woman Arrested in Custodial Interference Case

May 31, 2022, 4:45 PM HST
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A Big Island woman faces charges in connection with a custodial interference case that began late last year.

Mary Ann Cortez

Detectives from the Hawai‘i Police Department Area I Juvenile Aid Section on Thursday, May 26, arrested and charged 56-year-old Mary Ann Cortez of Puna for custodial interference stemming from a November 2021 investigation involving her adult daughter, 31-year-old Marina Cortez, and 4-year-old grandson.

Mary Ann Cortez was arrested Thursday in Hilo after hiding her grandson to prevent him from being placed in the care of the state Department of Human Services, which has legal guardianship of the child through court action. After conferring with the Hawai‘i County prosecutor’s office, she was charged for first-degree custodial interference and criminal contempt of court. Her bail was set at $2,500 and her initial court appearance was Friday, May 27, in Hilo District Court.

The investigation into Marina Cortez is ongoing. She has been wanted for custodial interference and for an outstanding Family Court warrant since last November after failing to relinquish her son to DHS.

Police were notified Thursday that Marina Cortez was admitted Tuesday, May 24, as a Jane Doe at Hilo Medical Center. Upon learning the Jane Doe was Cortez, it became urgent to determine the whereabouts of her 4-year-old son.

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With assistance from Puna patrol officers and tips from the public, the child was located in good health in the Puna area and subsequently placed into DHS care. Detectives determined that the child was with his grandmother, Mary Ann Cortez, who was clearly aware that DHS is the child’s legal guardian. Further, she deceived detectives to hide the child.

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The Hawai‘i Police Department thanks the public for its assistance with this investigation.

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