Kai Sylvester Kalaba
Gender Male
Born February 29, 1984 (Age 30)
Race Pacific Islander
Employer SFPD
Rank Forensic Specialist

Kai Sylvester Kalaba is one of the main protagonists and characters of Cause of Death. He is the forensic technician of the SFPD, and is well-known for his comic relief and humorous nature in the series.

Early Life:

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, he was considered to be a typical nerd, as he was obsessed with video games, science fiction, and comic books. In college, he briefly considered studying to be an astronaut, but after failing the physical requirements, pursued forensics instead.

After college, Kai traveled around Asia for a year, getting numerous "personal" tattoos along the way. The tattoo on Kai's neck he got in Tokyo when he tried to save his friend from being "brainwashed" to joining a death cult. He joined the cult to find out more information, he received the tattoo and was told he had to kill a man - which he could not do and escaped before being killed. He is generally secretive about his time in Asia due to the death cult situation. He is active in many online criminology communities. Despite his best efforts, Kai remains single.


Kai was first introduced in Volume 2, Chapter One: Tough Love when he was examining the crime scene of the Emile Schulleman murder, as a replacement for Eric Mills. He quickly became friends with the rest of the gang, and has become well known for his comical nature -- but he is still highly knowledgable and intelligent on crime scene. He is the best friend and partner of Amy Chen.

In 'Buried Secrets, Buried Lives' it is revealed that Kai was a member of the Sandsnakes, a biker gang, when Kai was living in Hawaii. Knowing what he was doing was wrong, Kai became a mole and fed information about the gang to police. He is the primary protagonist of the side stories Detective Kalaba and Kai Hard.

Kai gets involved with Kara Yan in Detective Kalaba after she tricks him into thinking that she's a museum worker instead of the daughter of a high-ranking Triad gang member. Despite being lied to, Kai is still smitten with her good looks and liking for kung fu movies. He sees her again in In Vino Veritas and the two share another kiss before Kara knocks him out and escapes.

He was seen following Reed Harrow out of a huge suspicion towards him in Volume 14 Chapter 7's answers, suspecting him to either be or to be a pawn of Firstborn. He was hunting for Firstborn, the killer of Boone Ligaya, a character he became friends with in the first half of Volume 14. He seemed to forgive Reed in V14C9's bonus scene.


Kai has since relocated in London together with the other Special Crimes Task Force members in order to track down the Firstborn.


  • Barring Mal and Natara, Kai is the longest-lasting protagonist in Cause of Death. Every protagonist but Mal/Natara did not stay for the entire series (Kai's equivalent of this was not appearing in Volume 1). However, unlike all the other non-main protagonists, Kai never left the team, and stayed on it the longest (from Volume 2 to the very end). All the other non-mains either arrived later than he did, died, or left the team temporarily.
  • It was revealed in In The Cards, Part 1 that Kai is afraid of cholera, circus bears, and psychic powers.
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  • In the bonus scene of Truth or Dare, Part 2, Kai mentions his mother wanting him to be one of the "cool kids" when he was in high school when all he wanted to do was read manga and dissect things.
  • He considers Amy Chen his best friend.
  • It was revealed in V14C8 that Kai has a brother, although his name and any other details remain unknown. He questioned when about to die if his brother would cry since he never cries, hinting that his brother is pessimistic.