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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 10, 2003

Miss Hawaii USA 2003 talks about abduction

By Zenaida Serrano Espanol
Advertiser Staff Writer

Alicia Michioka was walking along King Street one evening three years ago when she decided to be a good Samaritan.

Alicia Michioka, Miss Hawaii USA 2003, serves as a spokeswoman for Missing Child Center-Hawaii and the Honolulu Police Department's MAILE Alert Program. MAILE stands for Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency.
Instead she became the victim of a kidnapping.

A guy "had pulled over and was asking me some questions because ... he needed help," she said. "Before I knew it, he had grabbed me and I was in the car, and he was driving away with me."

The three-hour ordeal ended when Michioka persuaded the driver, who was high on crack cocaine, to let her go, telling him that he would not get into trouble for what he did.

"I don't know how I talked him into it, but he let me go," she said. Michioka, who was 21 at the time, was unharmed, and the suspect was eventually sentenced to five years' probation.

Michioka, now 24, has chosen to turn her traumatic experience into a positive one. Since being crowned Miss Hawaii USA 2003 in May, she has used her title to raise awareness about abductions, she said.

"I've been focusing more on children because if it can happen to an adult, it can easily happen to a child, and I think that's where the preventative measures need to come in," said Michioka, who graduated from Hawai'i Pacific University last year with bachelor's degrees in advertising and journalism.

Miss Hawaii USA 2003

• Name: Alicia Malia Michioka

• Age: 24

• Hometown: Kapa'a, Kaua'i; now lives in Honolulu

• Parents: Lorri Stilwell-Makaneole and Blaine Michioka

• Michioka will advance to the Miss USA pageant, part of the Miss Universe organization, March 24 in San Antonio, Texas. The national competition will be broadcast live on NBC. Past Miss Hawaii USA winners include Kelly Hu and Brook Lee.

Michioka now serves as a spokeswoman for Missing Child Center-Hawaii and the Honolulu Police Department's MAILE Alert Program; MAILE stands for Minor Abducted in Life-threatening Emergency.

Carol Hee, coordinator of Missing Child Center-Hawaii, is grateful for Michioka's support and desire to spread the word on child abductions.

"I think it's great because it's really important for people to see that it's an issue that affects everyone," Hee said.

Officer Phil Camero of the police missing-persons detail is also appreciative of Michioka's work.

"We're grateful for her efforts and just her help in taking care of our keiki," Camero said.

As Miss Hawaii USA, Michioka has dedicated the past several months to doing public service announcements and making appearances at fairs, community meetings and other special events.

'Raise the Love' Valentine's Celebration

A benefit for Miss Hawaii USA 2003 and Missing Child Center-Hawaii

• 5:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday

• Aaron's Atop the Ala Moana

• Tickets: $15

• For details: 536-8377

"If I can save just a couple of lives, even one, then I think I've done my job, not just as a title holder, but as a citizen of our community," Michioka said.

Although her reign ends in May, Michioka looks forward to possibly earning an even bigger title at the Miss USA 2003 pageant March 24 in San Antonio, Texas.

"I feel positive about it," said the hapa beauty (she's Japanese and Caucasian). "The attitude that you have to have in this type of competition, you just have to go there doing the best that you can."

Until then, Michioka will continue to focus on her work with the center and program. Her current project is the "Raise the Love" Valentine's Celebration, a fund-raiser with proceeds going to cover pageant costs and to the Missing Child Center-Hawaii (See box).

"Her being a spokesperson was plenty for me, but to actually help to raise funds for us is wonderful," Hee said.

The event includes free pupu from 6 to 8 p.m.; a silent auction with jewelry, candy, flowers and art work; door prizes; and entertainment by Robi Kahakalau and Maunalua's Bobby Moderow.

Reach Zenaida Serrano Espanol at zespanol@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8174.