Mom Dies After Slipping Off Hawaii Cliff and Getting Swept Away as Boyfriend Watched in Agony

Kala‘iokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa "loved her kids more than anything," according to her boyfriend

<p>Kalai Reyes Kanekoa/Facebook</p> Kala‘iokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa.

Kalai Reyes Kanekoa/Facebook

Kala‘iokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa.
  • Kala‘iokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa, 29, died on Sunday after she fell off a cliff in Hawaii and into the ocean, police said

  • Her boyfriend Dylan Gapp said the tragic incident unfolded while they were watching the waves together on a cliff near Hawaiian Paradise Park

  • Authorities did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment

A woman was found dead early Sunday after she fell off a cliff in Hawaii and was swept away as her boyfriend tried his best to help her.

The Hawaii Police Department identified the victim as Kala‘iokealaula Ashley Nicole Reyes Kanekoa, 29.

Police said in a Facebook post that authorities responded after Kanekoa fell from the shoreline cliffs near Paradise Drive and Beach Road in Kea‘au just before 2 a.m. local time.

"A 31-year-old Kea‘au man who was with the woman attempted to rescue her by throwing out a flotation device, however was unsuccessful as the woman was pulled out by the ocean’s currents," police added.

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The man, identified by Hawaii News Now as Kanekoa's boyfriend, Dylan Gapp, said the horrific incident unfolded while watching the waves together on a cliff near Hawaiian Paradise Park.

Although police and firefighters responded within seven minutes of the 911 call, her boyfriend claimed that when they arrived they didn't have the proper tools to rescue her — and that he had no choice but to sit there listening to her "suffer and scream for help."

Authorities told the outlet that the fire truck was not required to carry ocean rescue equipment and that at the time of their arrival, it was too dangerous and dark for them to immediately go into the water.

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Gapp claimed that after an hour went by and the rescue boat and helicopter still hadn't arrived, he swam out to where his girlfriend was clinging to a raft, per the outlet. However, by the time he returned, he said first responders could no longer see her.

PEOPLE has reached out to the police and fire departments for comment.

Ultimately, police said that the fire department and Coast Guard searched throughout the morning, and at 8 a.m., they found her body four miles down shore near Honolulu Landing in Pāhoa.

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"She was transported to the Hilo Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:58 a.m.," police said in their statement.

Following an autopsy on Tuesday, her cause of death was ruled to be accidental drowning. Police have said foul play is not suspected.

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Speaking with Hawaii News Now, Gapp said "she loved her kids more than anything" and "was a loving, caring person."

Police are asking anyone who may have information relative to this case, to call the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Paul Mangus of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2383 or email

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