Daylenn “Moke” Pua, 18, went missing on February 27, 2015, after being last seen boarding a bus in Waianae, Oahu, Hawaii. He was on his way to Oahu from the Big Island when he told his grandmother that he was going to hike the forbidden Haiku Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven,” against her advice.
During his hike, Moke posted a series of photos on social media from his phone, one of which featured a mysterious man. He never came back down the Stairs. Was the mystery man to blame, did he die on the perilous steps, or did something else happen that day?
No sign of Daylenn “Moke” Pua has been found in the 7 years since his disappearance.
What are the Haiku Stairs?
The Haik Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven,” are a steep, 3,922 step steel structure that provided foot access to former US Navy communication facilities on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The pathway spans Oahu’s Ko’olau mountain range, with views of Kaneohe and Kaneohe Bay from the top.
In 1942, contractors for the United States Navy began work on the Haik Radio Station, a top-secret facility that would be used to transmit radio signals to Navy ships operating throughout the Pacific at the time. The Navy stretched the antennae across the valley to achieve the required height. Some pieces of the wooden ladder can still be seen next to the metal steps. The radio station was established in 1943.
The Naval base was decommissioned in the 1950s, and the site was used by the US Coast Guard for an Omega Navigation System station. The wooden stairs were replaced in the mid-1950s by sections of metal steps and ramps, and the station and trail were officially closed to the public in 1987.
Daylenn Pua’s Disappearance
Moke was on his way from the Big Island to see his grandmother, Martha Bear, in Waianae. He was a senior at Ke Kula ‘O Ehunuikaimalino, a Kealakekua Hawaiian immersion school.
He wanted to hike up the Stairway to Heaven, but Martha informed him that it was closed and that authorities were not allowing anyone to climb that mountain.
Daylenn Pua left his grandmother’s house on Friday, February 27, 2015, and boarded a bus from Waianae, Oahu, never to return. He was dressed in a white long-sleeved tee, black surf shorts, slippers, and a red backpack. When he did not return home that day, his grandmother reported him missing.
The mystery man
According to Honolulu police, Pua texted pictures of himself around 11 a.m., indicating he was on the trail of the Haiku Stairs, despite what he told his grandmother. Since then, he has not been seen or heard from.
The family thoroughly examined these photographs in search of clues, and they discovered a man, barely visible in the background, lurking in the bushes in one of Pua’s photographs. They suspected the mysterious man was following Pua.
Who was this man? Was he just urinating in the bushes? Was he ever aware that he wasn’t alone on the mountain? Why hasn’t he come forward (some accounts say yes, but the authorities haven’t confirmed this)? Did he not want to admit that he had climbed an illegal trail?
The search for Daylenn Pua
The search included the fire department, local volunteers, drone operators, and even the United States Navy.
The official search was suspended at 4.44 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after two hikers reported hearing cries for help on the Monday following the disappearance. Relatives and community volunteers continued to scour the area for any signs of life. However, nothing was discovered.
Moke Pua is still missing.