Waianae hiker’s family and friends anxiously wait for his return

Richard "Kalani" Vierra

A steep and treacherous climb. That’s how some people are describing the trail that a 15-year-old Waianae boy hiked by himself.

Richard Vierra, who is known as Kalani, made the trek on Saturday and hasn’t been seen since.

Honolulu firefighters have combed the area by air and foot, but still, no sign of him.

“I’m trying to be as strong as I can,” Kalani’s mother Dolly Vierra said Monday. “He’s a very good kid, he does good in school, he makes friends easy.”

On Saturday, her son Kalani went hiking alone, which he’s done before, but never to the top of Kamaileulu Ridge.

“He told me loved me,” Vierra said. “He gave me a kiss on each cheek and told me ‘bye.”

She said her son left the house just after 6:30 in the morning on Saturday. He called her five hours later and he told her he was coming down the mountain.

That was the last time she talked to him.

Friends say Kalani is a Boy Scout and active in jiu jitsu, having recently won a gold medal in a tournament.

“He wouldn’t have a problem going up there,” said Johanne Mitchell, 808 Gracie fighter. “He’s small. His agility is beyond normal.”

Police and fire have been searching for the 15-year-old teen since Saturday afternoon. They’ve combed the trail and valleys for any sign of Kalani.

But the search-and-rescue has faced some challenges. Battalion Chief James Perkins of the Honolulu Fire Department said it’s “the steepness of the mountains, the number of valleys, and the crevices that are coming off the mountain.”

Vierra said she has a good relationship with her only child and just wants him to come home.

“We’ve had our little disagreements, but, lately, we’ve been getting along okay,” she said. “I’m hoping, I’m praying, that he’s alright.”

Honolulu police and fire will continue the search for Kalani on Tuesday.

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