July 18, 2017 02:02 PM


Two parents and a grandmother from Hawaii have been charged with murder after allegedly starving a 9-year-old girl to death by denying her food and water for about a year, PEOPLE confirms.

On July 14, police on Hawaii’s Big Island arrested the girl’s father, 49-year-old Kevin Lehano, the girl’s mother, 33-year-old Tiffany Stone and her grandmother, 59-year-old Henrietta Stone, according to a statement from the Hawaii Police Department.

All three were charged with murder in the June 28, 2016, death of the child, according to the release.

The indictment charges the trio with denying the girl food, water and medical treatment for about a year before her death, according to court records.

Authorities have only identified the child, who was born in 2006, by her initials, S.A.L.

On Monday, the girl’s parents made their first appearance in South Hilo District Court, where they both pleaded not guilty to murder.

“This is a real emotional roller coaster for anybody, including me,” said Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports.

Hawaiʻi Police Department

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Lehano’s trial is scheduled for December 4, according to court records. Stone’s trial is scheduled for Nov. 13. Henrietta Stone’s court arraignment was postponed until Tuesday.

‘Severely Malnourished and Unconscious’

On June 28, 2016, police and firefighters responded to a call about an unresponsive child at the family’s apartment in Hilo, according to the release.

“First responders were confronted with what appeared to be a severely malnourished and unconscious young girl lying on the floor within the home,” the release states.

She was transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where she died a few hours later, according to police.

According to Hawaii News Now, State Child Protective Services had been in contact with the family since she was a toddler.

Even though CPS determined that the child, who was unable to leave the home, was “failing to thrive,” her parents were allowed to have daily contact with her, sources tell Hawaii News Now.

The girl’s grandmother had legal custody of the child, the Associated Press reports.

But her parents lived in the apartment complex, according to Hawaii News Now.

Family members say they last saw the child alive on Thanksgiving 2015, Hawaii News Now reports.

That same month, the girl’s family pulled her out of Hilo Union Elementary so she could be homeschooled, even though her parents have no background in education, Hawaii News Now reports.

The local education department sent a statement to Hawaii News Now saying that once a child is approved to be homeschooled, “The DOE has no authority to conduct home visits to oversee how the child is being educated.”

In a separate statement to Hawaii News Now, state Department of Human Services Director Pankaj Bhanot said he couldn’t release specifics on the case involving the girl, citing confidentiality laws.

“Child Welfare Services works daily to support the safety, permanency, and well-being of Hawaii’s children on statewide,” he said. “Our role is to strengthen families so they can provide a safe home for their children.”

All three defendants are being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each.

It is unclear whether they have retained attorneys. PEOPLE’s calls for comment to CPS and the district attorney’s office were not immediately returned.

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