A pair of “good samaritans” have been credited with the rescue of Mikella DeBina, a 15-year-old girl who was abducted at knifepoint in Hawaii on Friday night.
DeBina was reportedly spotted in a cafe in the town of Hilo on Saturday. According to her mother, two strangers—Kori Takaki and Bridge Hartman—sprung into action after recognizing the crying teenager and “ripped her away” from her alleged abductor, who reportedly ran out of the cafe during the struggle.
“It all just happened so fast, where he was bringing her in, and he said, ‘This is her. This is her.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’” Takaki was quoted as saying in local Hawaiian outlets.
DeBina has since been reunited with her family, and her alleged kidnapper, 52-year-old Duncan Kealoha Mahi, was arrested on Saturday following a nationwide manhunt.
“We saw her on Facetime. She smiled and waved. She’s okay!,” DeBina’s mother, Cher Angelel, said while fighting back tears in videos shared on social media shortly after DeBina was found. Angelel referred to the strangers who helped rescue her daughter as “heroes.”
WATCH: Moments when Hawaii Island police and Mikella Debina’s mother announced she was found safe in Hilo. At this time, suspect still at large. Stay with @KHONnews for the latest details. pic.twitter.com/IPuTavnOoj
— Kristy Tamashiro (@kristytamashiro) September 17, 2022
The arrest comes following frantic search efforts for DeBina after her family said she had been snatched by a man who tied up her boyfriend near a resort area around the Anaeho’omalu Bay.
Police soon put out a press release stating that the teen could be in the company of an older man, between 45 to 60 years of age.
Mikella’s aunt, Laureen DeBina, shared a Facebook post late Friday detailing the bizarre incident.
“My niece and her boyfriend were held up at knife point south of Abays Beach,” she said. “Her boyfriend was tied up and she was taken! Please, please if anyone sees, hears or has any information please contact the police.”
In a Facebook post shared by another aunt, Sadie Seymour, dozens of well-wishes were sent for Mikella’s safe return. The post had received nearly 700 shares as of Saturday.
In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Laureen DeBina said the suspect instructed her niece to “tie up her boyfriend, blind fold him, and then took her.”
DeBina also said police were able to detect a signal from Mikella’s cell phone near the Kona International Airport, nearly 20 miles away at Keāhole. There, police also found the teen’s bag and a dress.