Honolulu police arrived at 352 Auwaiolimu Street early Tuesday morning — the same Pauoa property Eddie Aikau once called home — to find his 42-year-old nephew Gerald hanging from a tree, an apparent suicide. Gerald’s 7-year-old son, Reef, was found dead inside a house on the property. Tuesday evening, the Aikai family, who live in an adjoined building on the premises and made the discovery, confirmed that Gerald murdered his son before he took his own life, according to a report from Khon News.
“We are really humbled by the response of the passing of our son and grandson,” said Aikau’s father, Solomon Aikau, the younger brother of Eddie. “Gerald had some issues he was trying to take care of, whether it was legally or mentally. He was working really hard, trying to solve his problems, get himself together…We as a family kind of just want to leave it at that, that he tried his best.”
Court documents between Gerald and his former wife Katherine reveal an estranged relationship, and the signs of Gerald’s ongoing struggle with drugs and mental illness. The couple’s divorce proceedings were pending at the time of police investigation. Katherine had filed multiple restraining orders against Gerald after reports of domestic violence.
According to the documents, Katherine wrote of a summer vacation to Europe that she had organized with Reef, though Gerald reportedly refused to help his son secure his passport. Had the trip been successful, writes Khon News, Katherine and Reef would have been out of the country until Saturday. Potential motives for the murder, apart from mental illness, are unconfirmed.
“He had his own family issues he had to deal with, being married, and he had children and stuff,” said Myra Aikau, Gerald’s aunt. “Somehow he’s been seeking help from doctors and everything. Gerald was just a really good boy, but he had so much problems and he tried to settle it by himself, and I don’t know what happened.”
The Aikaus are the epitome of resolution in the wake of very public family deaths. But even as investigations uncover more details of the case, these deaths, the lives of a father and his son cut short, are especially senseless.
“We like to remember them for who they were, remember the good times, good days, and nothing else,” said Gerald’s sister Piilani. “Our family is always in the media, but it’s a different beast.”