Aikau family addresses apparent murder-suicide involving father, son in Pauoa

Gerald and Reef Aikau (Photo provided by the Aikau family)

A family is mourning the deaths of a father and his young son following an apparent murder-suicide in Pauoa Tuesday morning.

Officers responded at around 5:45 a.m. to 352 Auwaiolimu Street, which is the address for Yee King Tong Cemetery.

It’s the same property where surf legend Eddie Aikau grew up.

According to Capt. Walter Ozeki of HPD’s Criminal Investigation Division, the body of a 42-year-old man was found hanging from a tree, and a 7-year-old boy was found dead inside a home on the property.

“Relatives lived in adjoining building. They were home at the time and they made the discovery,” Ozeki said. “The unit they were in, nobody else lives in the residence.”

The Aikau family confirms the man was Gerald Aikau, and the boy was his son.

“My brother, Gerald, took his life and his son, Reef,” said his sister, Piilani Aikau.

Family members say Gerald Aikau had issues he ultimately could not conquer.

“We are really humbled by the response of the passing of our son and grandson,” said Aikau’s father, Solomon Aikau. “Gerald had some issues he was trying to take care of, whether it was legally or mentally. He was working really hard, trying to solve his problems, get himself together… We as a family kind of just want to leave it at that, that he tried his best.”

“He had his own family issues he had to deal with, being married, and he had children and stuff,” said his aunt, Myra Aikau. “Somehow he’s been seeking help from doctors and everything. Gerald was just a really good boy, but he had so much problems and he tried to settle it by himself, and I don’t know what happened.”

Court documents give a glimpse into the relationship between Gerald Aikau and his estranged wife, Katherine.

The couple was in the middle of divorce proceedings, and Katherine Aikau had filed restraining orders against him, citing physical abuse.

She also claimed that her husband was mentally ill and using illegal drugs. Court documents reveal he had recently undergone a drug treatment program.

Katherine Aikau wrote that she had planned a trip to Europe and wanted to take her son during his summer vacation, but Gerald Aikau refused to help secure his passport.

If mother and son could have traveled together as planned, they would have been out of the country and scheduled to return Saturday.

Despite the legal issues, the Aikau family insists Gerald Aikau was a good man.

“We like to remember them for who they were, remember the good times, good days, and nothing else,” said Piilani Aikau. “Our family is always in the media, but it’s a different beast.”

Experts say the case is more than just a murder-suicide; it’s a “robust domestic violence case.”

Nanci Kreidman, CEO of the Domestic Violence Action Center, says there are warning signs that family members and the community can look for to prevent similar tragedies.

“We all have to be each other’s keeper and I encourage everybody to listen carefully to friends, to notice red flags, to be listening with an open heart, encourage people to get help. Point out things that otherwise I might be numb to if I’m a victim,” she said. “The system has got to work together. The community has got to name it. Families and supporters and allies have got to understand what the level of potential lethality is so we can prevent the loss of lives.”

Kreidman says if you think someone is a victim, ask them about it.

She also recommends calling police or the center itself if you feel you need to reach out for help.

The Domestic Violence Action Center’s legal help line is (808) 531-3771.

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