The Outlaws continue to honor the heiau, a sacred stone structure built more than a thousand years ago by Polynesians, who performed rituals there, possibly including human sacrifice. On December 16, 2012, Justin Klein, who had recently joined up with the Outlaws in Kalalau, allegedly threw his lover, a Japanese tourist, from the heiau onto the rocks below, before disappearing into the lush Kalalau Valley, sparking a manhunt—and threatening the community's way of life.
Klein soon persuaded the Japanese women to extend their stay indefinitely. But in the following days, his musings continued to lurch from lucid to manic. "He was saying demented shit—that he was God, that everyone but him and the good people were going to die on December 21, that he hated tourists and was going to shoot at the cruise ship that comes by on Fridays. . . . And he had talked about pushing people off the cliffside trail," says Emmett Milbank, a 27-year-old marketing executive from Boston who spent nearly six weeks in Kalalau. During this time, Tara began to distance herself from Klein—she'd grown weary of the ménage à trois.
Late in the afternoon of December 16, Tara was hanging out with friends at Goddess Camp when an Outlaw named Elyse approached them. "There's been an incident with one of the Japanese girls and maybe Justin," Elyse said. "Somebody needs to come be with her."
Tara followed Elyse down the trail toward the heiau. They saw Ino splayed out on the rocks below—her face was badly bloodied, and although she was conscious, she was unable to move. Tara kneeled beside her and applied pressure to a wound above her eye that was gushing blood. "She was in complete shock," Tara says. Ino's friend Koga had witnessed the incident but spoke little English, so she tried to show the others what had happened. Through a violent pantomime, Tara says, Koga indicated that Klein, who was nowhere to be seen, had grabbed Ino and thrown her off the cliff beside the heiau, 15 feet onto the rocks below. Using a two-way radio, one Outlaw called a helicopter, and Ino and Koga were airlifted to Wilcox Memorial Hospital on the other side of Kauai in Lihue.
That night, as word of the incident made its way through the valley, Outlaws emerged from their camps and gathered in groups on the beach in a heavy downpour, which only added to the ominous vibe. Another group retreated to a beachside cave, where there was only one way in and one way out—easier to defend. Some slept with machetes. Klein had always cut an imposing figure among the Outlaws—but an out-of-control alpha male lurking in the shadows of the dense valley? "We were scared that he was hiding in the woods—it was creepy, eerie," Milbank says. "I was fucking terrified," says Tara. "I didn't know what state of mind he was in."
"Who's in your fucking tent?!" That was the rude awakening Emmett Milbank got early on the morning after Klein's disappearance. A joint SWAT team from Kauai PD and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) had surrounded Milbank's camp, automatic rifles drawn, as he drank coffee. "Do you know this guy? Where is he?" an officer shouted, shoving a picture of Klein in his face. They poked their guns into Milbank's buddy's tent and demanded to see camping permits and IDs. Outlaws could be heard running every which way, yelling, "It's a raid!" But this was more than a raid; it was a full-on manhunt.
Kalalau has a history of harboring fugitives. In 1893, a Hawaiian leper named Ko'olau hid in the valley to evade an army patrol sent to capture him and take him to the leper colony on Molokai. Today's Outlaws trace their roots to Taylor Camp, a hippie commune founded at the beginning of the Kalalau trail in the 1960s by the actress Elizabeth Taylor's brother Howard. In 1974, Kalalau was folded into Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park and a permit system made long-term camping illegal. After the government shuttered Taylor Camp in 1977, the hippies scattered, and some hiked 11 miles down the trail, deeper into the bush, where they were less accessible to the authorities. The government has been trying to roust the community from Kalalau ever since. DLNR officers conduct periodic sweeps, which the Outlaws evade by hiding in the jungle. Archaeologists claim the illegal residents damage historic sites, and many island residents fear the lawlessness of Kalalau. "You're crazy to go out there without a shotgun," says Randy Wichman, 55, a former president of the Kauai Historical Society who has lived in Haena, a small town at the start of the Kalalau trail, his entire life. "It's a place for lost souls."
For three days, the SWAT team and other authorities combed the campsites, the beach, and the valley in the hunt for Klein as helicopters hovered. The authorities were shocked by how established the community was and ejected 60 people from Kalalau, but they failed to find the one they came for: Klein. The police shut down the main highways that bisect the island and set up checkpoints.
With Klein on the loose, even the Outlaws who weren't kicked out wrestled with whether to leave their paradise. "It was like they had dark clouds around them. They were full of fear," Tara says. Four days after Klein fled the heiau, about 10 Outlaws, including Tara and Larry, the former Coast Guard mechanic, chose to hike out of the valley.
For three weeks, the Kalalau trail was closed as the search continued. While many Outlaws relocated to another state park on the island, Brooks hid out in the woods and, like Klein, evaded the authorities, though they did find and destroy Brooks' camp, he says, stealing $16,000 worth of tools—the DLNR claims this was part of the effort to clean up trash left over by the "squatters." After four months on the run, Klein turned himself in on April 6, 2013, at Lydgate Beach Park, more than 30 miles from the beginning of the Kalalau trail. Before surrendering, he posted a rambling, garbled Facebook message: "Iv never been inocent nor should I. Ever be convicted of crimes I creat life as we go as the world continues so dose all your suffering of cyclic exsistence you all realy want another 1000 yrs of suffering just try me I am not guilty at all." He also called his sister Jody Pearson in Georgia, and she says he told her he'd taken five hits of acid and had been dancing with Ino on the heiau—the fall had been an accident. According to Pearson, Klein said he and Ino were "in bliss. . . . I wasn't trying to hurt her." He said he'd been in the valley while the police were looking for him and had survived on wild goats and vegetables.