Slain girl's family sues boy's parents
By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Big Island Bureau
HILO Nearly two years after 14-year-old Mark Davis Jr. was charged with raping and murdering a 6-year-old neighbor girl in Puna, Davis still has not stood trial because he was judged not mentally fit to proceed, according to a lawyer representing the victim's family.
The parents of the slain girl, Kau'ilani Tadeo, sued Davis' parents in Hilo Circuit Court on Monday, saying Davis' parents were guilty of "negligently or recklessly" supervising their son on the day of the murder.
Joy Hutson, lawyer for George and Tumata Tadeo, said the Tadeos do not expect to receive much money from the suit. Davis' parents may have left the state, and "the reality is we can't even find these people, so they're not expecting monetary compensation for their grief," Hutson said of the Tadeo family. "I think it's mostly to find closure."
Kau'ilani Tadeo, a first-grader at Keonepoko Elementary School, was reported missing on Sept. 27, 2001, after she returned home from school. Her body was discovered at about 8:30 that evening by a police officer who was searching for her in a vacant house near her home in the Puna subdivision of Hawaiian Beaches.
Davis, who also lived nearby, was charged with murder and two counts of sexual assault.
Davis' father, Mark Davis Sr., told The Advertiser in a 2001 interview that his son could not have committed the crime. The father said he could account for his son's whereabouts on the afternoon that Tadeo was killed, and said his son denied any involvement in the murder. Mark Davis Sr. also said testing showed his son had an IQ of 45, and said the youth has the mental faculties of a 5-year-old.
School officials said the boy, then a seventh-grader, had not had any serious problems at the Pahoa Intermediate and High School he attended, although school officials noted he had scratches on his face the day after Tadeo was killed. Davis told people he was accidentally scratched by a friend.
After he was charged, Davis was held for a time at a juvenile detention facility on O'ahu. He is still in state custody, although Hutson said he may be in a Mainland facility.
Marsha Kitagawa, public affairs director for the state judiciary, said juvenile cases are confidential by law, and therefore she cannot discuss it.
Hutson said Tadeo's parents were told the criminal case against Davis stalled because the boy is not mentally fit to stand trial. "That's the reason we have filed this civil case because my client wants closure, and obviously it's not proceeding with the criminal case."
Hutson said the Tadeo family is asking for help from the public in locating Davis' family, Mark Daniel Davis and Ellen Pearl Davis.
Reach Kevin Dayton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 935-3916.