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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 5:41 p.m., Friday, December 22, 2006

Mother arrested in child's death

Advertiser Staff

The mother of an 'Ewa Beach toddler who died Tuesday was arrested today and faces second-degree murder charges, police said.

Police identified her as Makerita Puni.

Dante Puni, 22 months, died Tuesday at The Queen's Medical Center. His cause of death was listed as "assaultive head trauma."

Paramedics responded to a Kaikala Street home Monday at 12:43 p.m. and found the unconscious child's father performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him, officials said.

Meanwhile, police are still investigating the death of 1-year-old Kamalani Inciong-Smith, who died about 6 a.m on Monday at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Her cause of death was listed as "abusive head trauma."

The homicides are the first on O'ahu this year involving children younger than 5, the Honolulu Medical Examiner said.

Last year, there were three such deaths.