The mother of a toddler who nearly died is pleading with the Honolulu Police Department for a more thorough investigation into her son’s injuries.
Chelsea Valiente believes her son, Peyton, was injured at a day care run by the wife of a Honolulu police officer.
For the first time, Valiente was able to speak Wednesday with the department’s top brass, including acting Chief of Police Cary Okimoto. She told them her family deserves more answers about what happened to Peyton.
The Valiente family sat quietly while HPD’s top brass updated the Honolulu Police Commission on the investigation behind Peyton’s injuries, but did not like what they heard.
HPD says it brought in new investigators for a fresh set of eyes to look into Peyton’s injuries, but reached a roadblock. Assistant Chief Rich Robinson said due to the pace of the 2015 investigation, witnesses or potential suspects had hired attorneys and were no longer coming forward voluntarily.
Prosecutors ultimately declined to pursue charges in the case.
Okimoto said while policies and procedures were followed, he’s disappointed in how long the investigation into the 2015 case took, and there isn’t enough evidence at this time to make an arrest.
When it was her time to speak, Valiente fired an emotional plea directly at Okimoto.
“I’m very disappointed. We’re very disappointed. I’m sorry,” she said. “As far as an update that, ‘Oh, there’s nothing else that can be done?’ There’s always something else that can be done.”
Valiente urged HPD to find out who is behind her son’s serious injuries that put Peyton in the hospital.
“We don’t have answers to this day, and we may never have answers,” she said. “I’m not too sure how many of you are parents here, but to know my son will never be the same and have questions and ask me, ‘Mommy, how did I get this scar?’ I have no answers to give him. So please, do whatever you can and keep us updated. We’d really appreciate it.”
“I just want to apologize on behalf of the police department to Peyton and your family,” Okimoto said. “If you could remain back, someone is going to talk to you guys, and try to answer as much of the questions you have, if you don’t mind.”
When asked about the family’s private meeting with HPD, Valiente said she’s still looking for answers.
“My husband and I are very deeply disappointed obviously,” she said.
Valiente says Robinson told her “just basically that the investigation was done poorly.”
Valiente says she still doesn’t know how her son ended up in a hospital bed after being dropped off day care, and she still doesn’t know what the lasting effects of her son’s injuries will be.
“I had a very emotional reaction, because it just didn’t sit well that they would say that there’s no positive outcome when we haven’t reached the end of the road yet,” she said. “There is still a possibility of some kind of outcome, so I prefer to just keep cautiously optimistic. … It looks like there might be one more option. The department is trying and so we look forward to that.”
The police department is now taking a closer look into three separate cases, because, according to Okimoto, he doesn’t want what happened with Peyton’s investigation to “ever happen again.”