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Community helps HPD with reuniting two brothers

by Thunda

Report No. 20-077342

For several years, Steve Robinson had been looking for his older brother Michael who had lived on the Big Island for many years. Steve and his father lived in California and had kept in touch with 71-year-old Michael by phone and by mail until around 2015 when the phone calls stopped, Michael’s post office box was closed, and suddenly there was no more communication between them. 

Steve reached out to resources on the Big Island, and even hired a private investigator in an attempt to locate his lost brother. Photos were passed out; various groups worked in tandem in trying to locate Michael. During the search Michael was discovered living behind the old Hilo Lanes, but when authorities went to check for him, he could not be found. All attempts were unsuccessful in trying to find Michael, but Steve never gave up hope or stopped looking.

When their father passed away at the age of 91, Steve wanted to notify his brother about their father’s passing. In a renewed effort to locate his brother, Steve reached out to the Hawaiʻi Police Department in early October 2020 for assistance in locating his brother.

A media release was sent out through the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s Nixle post, and Facebook page, asking the public for assistance in locating Michael Robinson. Within three-hours of posting the request for public assistance, police received a tip that Michael Robinson had been set up at an adult-foster care home in Puna, where he had been staying for about five months.

The Hawaiʻi Police Department has been using Facebook and Twitter in conjunction with members subscribed to Nixle Alerts to ask the public for help, post events and occurrences on the Island of Hawaiʻi. “It’s part of the effort to work together with the community, be more transparent with the public, and keep them informed of major events.” said Police Chief Paul Ferreira. The Chief also stated “In this incident we could not have been more pleased with the results, and wanted to thank the public for helping us reunite these two brothers.”

Police investigating the matter learned that Michael has been in the state system for some time receiving care. Michael suffers from health ailments that had deteriorated to the degree that he could no longer care for himself and was on the street. The state stepped in to take care of Michael and through the courts had a guardian appointed to oversee his care, especially after initially being unable to locate any family.

“Michael has been reunited with his brother Steve at last.” said Officer Tyler Jelsma of the East Hawaiʻi Community Policing Section, “requesting the public for their help through social media is what worked in this incident, it was an awesome result”.

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