Bella was out enjoying a weekend with her family and friends when she saw a man standing in the sun wearing a towel and sunglasses, her friends say.
She says he appeared to be about 30 or 40 years old and wore a long-sleeved shirt and pants.
She told ABC News that when she went to the beach to take pictures, the man ran into the water, and the other two others jumped in to help.
The family’s friend, who said he knew Bella as a person, said the man looked like he was “going to cry.”
She said Bella called 911 and asked the man what was wrong, and he told her that he’d been trying to get the dog to go outside, and it was getting too hot.
“We were all trying to protect him,” the friend told ABC affiliate WPTV.
“It was all we could do.”
Bella’s friends and family described her as a caring and loving mother who wanted to protect her two young sons, who were at the time under the care of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Bella had been staying at her grandmother’s home in California, but the family moved back to Hawaii in March, when she was in her 40s.
Beala was in Hawaii with her oldest son, David, when the man started to walk around the beach, a friend told WPTV, and when Bella saw him he said “I love you, Daddy.”
When Bella asked the dog, “Where’s the dog?” she said the dog was in the water.
When Bela asked what was happening, the dog turned around and went outside, a neighbor told WPtv.
David Bella says the man told him that he was trying to swim and the dog went back into the sand.
Bellas son, 6, told WP TV that the man then turned around, started swimming toward the beach and was “stumbling on the sand.”
Bellais son, 5, said he was scared, but Bella told him to go get the towel, saying, “That’s OK, Daddy.
Just stay on the beach.”
Bebellas son told WP2 that she saw the man walking toward her and “he started swimming.”
She told WPX, “It’s hard to say what’s more disturbing.
That he just walked into the ocean or that he just started swimming.
I just want him to come back.”
Belloas husband, John, told ABC that the dog appeared to have been lost and his wife tried to keep it close, saying “Daddy, he’s lost his dog.”
Beaillas daughter, 13, told the station, “I’m sure he’s gone.
I don’t think he’s dead.”
David Bellachas son said he had to tell Bella to stay on her feet, saying that it would be “so scary” if it wasn’t for her.
“I don’t know if she knows what she’s going through,” he told WP3.
The dog was later found alive and well by a family friend, according to WPX.
“Bella was one of those people who loved to help other people,” said Bellahas son.
“She would do anything to help people.
I love her so much.”
The U.K. Home Office has not yet responded to ABC News’ request for comment.
Bellias husband told ABC he thinks the man who got the dog and the man on the shore are the same person, saying they’re the same “people who were here a couple of weeks ago, and then this person came in.”
Beillas son added that the dogs body was “unidentifiable” and that the police have not yet been able to identify the man.
“He said that he doesn’t know the name of this man, but I think he knows that the person is from the United States,” David Belliachas said.
“That is the last time I’ll see him alive.”
ABC News reporter Michael Kranish contributed to this report.