Detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section arrested and charged a 56-year-old Puna woman for first-degree custodial interference stemming from a November 2021 investigation involving her adult daughter, 31-year-old Marina Cortez, and four-year-old grandson.
Mary Ann Cortez was arrested in Hilo on Thursday, May 26, 2022, after hiding her grandson to prevent him from being placed in the care of the Department of Human Services (DHS), which has legal guardianship of the child.
Cortez’s daughter, Marina, has been wanted for custodial interference and for an outstanding family court warrant since last November after she failed to relinquish her son to DHS, who obtained custody of the child through court action.
Police were notified on Thursday, May 26, that Marina Cortez had been admitted as a Jane Doe to the Hilo Medical Center on Tuesday, May 24. When authorities learned that Jane Doe’s real identity was Marina Cortez, it became urgent to determine the whereabouts of her young child.
With assistance from Puna patrol officers and tips from the public, the child was located in good health in the Puna area and subsequently placed into the care of DHS. Detectives determined that the child was with his grandmother, Mary Ann Cortez, who was clearly aware that DHS is the legal guardian of the child. Further, she deceived detectives in order to hide the child from being placed into the care of DHS.
After conferring with the County Prosecutor’s Office, Mary Ann Cortez was charged for first-degree custodial interference and criminal contempt of court. The investigation into Marina Cortez is ongoing at this time. Cortez’s bail was set at $2,500 and her initial court appearance was Friday, May 27, in Hilo District Court.
The Hawaii Police Department would like to thank the public for their assistance with this investigation.