Cyrus Nainoa Tupai Belt
February 2, 2006 - January 18, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial
On January 18, 2008, motorists were witness to a man throwing something off of an overpass into the path of traffic on the H-1 free-way at about 11:40 a.m.. Little did any of them know, the "something" would turn out to be a little boy named Cyrus Belt:

"We received phone calls of a male throwing an object over the Miller Street pedestrian overpass. Officers who responded to the freeway discovered that it was in fact a baby" 
Captain Frank Fujii - Honolulu Police Department

At first, witnesses thought it was a doll that had been thrown 30 feet below:

"It looked like a doll. I thought it was a doll at first, 'cause I thought, you really wouldn't
expect that of a regular child. So we went over and we looked down on the 
highway and we saw that it was an actual child. So then we immediately 
called the police"
Kraid Hengst 

Witnesses were able to describe the man who had thrown the baby off of the over pass as an Asian man wearing what seemed to be hospital scrubs, they said he looked to be about 20 years old. Just a few blocks away, police found a man who fit that description and they took Matthew M. Higa, who was 23, into custody.

Nancy Asiata Chanco, the mother of Cyrus Belt said that he was an outgoing child who was very talkative and that she had left him with her boyfriend who had then put them in their apartment with his grandfather. Nancy said that her father was sleeping and that during that time, Cyrus was taken that morning. Nancy also said that she believes Cyrus opened the door for whoever took him because he was such a friendly child. She said, through tears, that she never left Cyrus with Matthew:

"He stole my baby"

Nancy said that she was afraid of Matthew because he acted odd and he was a drug user. Matthew was her neighbor and he was always asking her if he could hold her baby. Nancy says even with all of that, she never left him with her son. Police had reported that Matthew had baby sat Cyrus on occasion, Nancy says that's not true:

"I would never, ever let that murderer watch my baby"

Nancy says that door to her apartment was not locked, though the screen door was and she insists that Cyrus would have opened the door for Matthew, who was always very friendly towards everyone.

Ron Asiata, an uncle to Cyrus said that Nancy was very upset and was not able to go and identify the body of her son, as was his father. Ron said that he was going to be the one to go to the medical examiners office and identify the body of Cyrus:

"He's my nephew. I love him with all my heart and he was killed in a violent death. 
I'm really upset about it"

Police told Nancy that in video tapes of what happened, it doesn't appear that Cyrus is struggling or moving at all. Nancy said her son was wrapped in a blanket and she believes that Cyrus was either dead or unconscious before he was thrown off of the overpass.

A neighbor, Roy Seminuk, said that Nancy and Matthew had both moved into the apartment complex only a few months before the incident. Roy said that Matthew was a longer and would walk around all the time, seemingly with nowhere in mind to go to. He would go up and down the stairs of the three floors in the building. Other
neighbors stated that they could hear Matthew and his father arguing, that they lived in the same apartment. Neighbors also said they could hear things being thrown around inside the apartment.

Matthew M. Higa was arrested and faced a charge of second degree murder. He plead not guilty to that charge and was being held on a $1 million dollar bond. If convicted, he was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is the sentence that I believe ANYONE who kills a child due to abuse should get. Matthew's lawyer said that he was going to be sure that he was examined and checked for his mental status:

"I think that's a brutal evil crime that he's done and I think he deserves life. If he has to stay in 
the state mental hospital, let him stay there for life"
Philip Asiata


Nancy Asiata had been accused of child neglect in the past, though Child Protective Services never did much, if anything, about it. Nancy has two other children, besides Cyrus, neither of them lived with her at the time of his death. During their lives, Nancy had been in and out of abusive relationships and she had abused drugs, she even admitted that while she was pregnant with Cyrus, she had done the drug crystal meth amphetamine. 

The Department Of Human Services released 180 pages of documents that were the record of Nancy's case. The records state that Nancy was a young mother who filed on more than one occasion to take proper care of her sons due to her use of drugs. Parts of the record had been blacked out to exclude names of family members, case workers and those who had filed complaints against her.

In May of 2002, Nancy dropped her son, who was 11 at the time, off with a relative claming she was going to search for a job and a place to live. When, after a month, Nancy had not taken her son back and the relative had been supporting him, the relative filed for power of attorney. In December 2002, after giving birth to her second son, nancy was accused of being detached from her son and her family said that she told them she didn't want him. That child lives in Turkey with Nancy's mother.

In her fifth month of pregnancy with Cyrus, Nancy admitted that she had done drugs. After he was born, neighbors called Child Protective Services claiming that Nancy often disappeared for days at a time and that she didn't properly care for Cyrus. In June of 2006, Police found that there was no electricity in their home. SHOCKINGLY, Cyrus was never removed from her custody.

Nancy said she thought of the birth of Cyrus as her last chance to become a good mother:

"This baby was my first baby that I really took care of on my own. All he wanted to do was be 
beside his mommy. He's the only thing I cared about enough to change. And it's too late now"

Lilo Asiata, her father, said that Nancy had been taking good care of Cyrus:

"He's the only reason she wanted to turn her life around. She just started coming around 
and taking care of her boy. She was beginning to be a good mother, and now, for this 
to happen, it's so sad"

Caseworkers closed their case against Nancy and one of them said that nancy was an attractive, intelligent woman who was providing a happy home for Cyrus. A couple of weeks before his death, Child Protective Services received another complaint. They determined that there was no immediate safety issue. Nancy's father was upset that the records had been released:

"It saddens me to think that they'd bring these things out at a time like this"

Lilliam Koller, the director of the department said that they were NOT trying place blame, they were simply trying to determine if anything could have been done to help Cyrus. Carroll Cox, an environmental activist, was called by the family, they asked her to help them. She stated that Child Protection Services had done an investigation and if they felt Cyrus was in danger or that the family was a threat to his well being, they should have removed him from the home.

Philip Asiata, the brother of Nancy said the media should focus on the death of Cyrus and the man who killed him rather than focus on his sister and father:

"She had nothing to do with her son's death. Whatever problem she has in the past, she was 
taking care of it, from my understanding"

The memorial wall on the Miller Street overpass continued to grow. People were dropping off hundreds of items including stuffed animals, balloons, letters and flowers. Stacey Norris, a former Army Staff Sergeant was going to gather up the stuffed animals and pay to have them sent to children and injured soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Stacey brought two friends to the overpass and they bagged up the stuffed animals in preparation to wash them before shipping them:

"This will give them a little comfort. This is the family's wishes"

UPDATE:

In July of 2010, Matthew Higa, after he previously been found guilty of second degree murder, was sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison. Two weeks prior to his sentencing, Matthew had told the court that he had known Cyrus, but had not been the one to kill him. Having been found guilty of second degree murder would mean that at some point, Matthew could be eligible for parole so Prosecutors asked the paroling authority to give him a 200 year sentence to ensure that he would never get out of prison.

Return To Cyrus's Story
Read About Memorials And The Funeral For Cyrus
Read A Timeline Of Events Surrounding The life Of Cyrus

Death occurred in the state of Hawaii

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