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Teenager's death a shock to friends


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POSTED: Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Friends of 18-year-old Iris Kaikana-Rodrigues said she was a sweet, kind person, and did not know she had any enemies or problems. So they were shocked to learn that police say she was murdered.

“;Oh, my God,”; said Katrina Andaya, a close friend who caught the bus with Kaikana-Rodrigues after they finished work at 6 p.m. Sunday, the day before her body was found. “;She's a nice friend.”;

The two had worked at the Fort Street Mall McDonald's restaurant. After Andaya got off the bus at Tamashiro Market, Kaikana-Rodrigues told her, “;Bye, baby girl.”;

“;I said, 'See you next year,'”; Andaya said she joked. “;I texted her 11 o'clock but she didn't answer. I called her, too.”;

Kaikana-Rodrigues' body was found nude in a strip of vacant land between a wall running behind Kamehameha Housing on North King Street and fences on Winant Street.

Police have not released any details of their investigation, but say they are following up on leads.

The Medical Examiner's Office would not identify the body yesterday nor provide a cause or manner of death. But friends and co-workers confirmed Kaikana-Rodrigues'identity.

Police reclassified the case from an unattended death to a homicide yesterday.

Jenna Waialae, who lives at Kamehameha Housing near where the young woman's body was found, said she was close to Kaikana-Rodrigues, a McKinley High School graduate.

“;She used to come over every time after work,”; she said. “;She liked to just chill and play with my kids. She was always respectful. She never did nothing wrong. She was always kind.”;

The manager of the Fort Street Mall McDonald's said Kaikana-Rodrigues was “;a happy-go-lucky girl. She was always happy.”;

She said her friends would often visit her at McDonald's.

A second co-worker, who also asked not to be named, said, “;Every time she come inside, she say, 'Hello, everybody!'

“;She was supposed to work 1 p.m. (Monday),”; she said. But when Kaikana-Rodrigues did not show, she texted her when it got late.

The store manager informed the employees Monday afternoon that Kaikana-Rodrigues had died.

Police said this was the 13th Oahu murder this year, the same number as at this time last year.