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Missing James Kimo Mitchell
Mitchell, circa 1977
Missing Since 03/07/1977
Classification Lost/Injured Missing
Date of Birth Used 02/15/1952 (69)
Age 25 years old
Height and Weight Unknown
Distinguishing Characteristics Pacific Islander male. Black hair, brown eyes. Mitchell goes by his middle name, Kimo.
Details of Disappearance Mitchell was raised in Keanae, Molokai, Hawaii. He was a good swimmer and a star on the football team at Baldwin High School. After graduation from high school, he attended Coalinga Junior College and Fresno State College in California, but decided not to try out for the National Football League.
Instead he returned to Hawaii to rejoin his family, which included his father, four older siblings and their children. He took a job with the National Park Service, working in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park. He hunted, farmed and fished in his spare time, and was on the senior men's crew at the Hana Canoe Club.
The military conducted an extensive search of the area of the Pacific Ocean where Helm and Mitchell disappeared, but no trace of the men was located. It is generally believed that they perished in some sort of accident at sea, but many Hawaiian activists believed that foul play was involved in their disappearance. Evidence supporting that theory has never been uncovered.
Unconfirmed sightings of Helm continued into the 1980s. He and Mitchell became martyrs symbolizing the Hawaiian movement. Kahoolawe was returned to the state of Hawaii in 1994. Helm's recordings were re-released in 1996, 19 years after his presumed death. His music received critical praise and gained renewed attention afterwards.
Helm and Mitchell's cases remain unsolved, but their disappearances are no longer actively investigated.
Investigating Agency / Department