Slain woman, 18, hoped to become a police officer


POSTED: Friday, August 28, 2009

Iris Napuanani Rodrigues-Kaikana dreamed of becoming a police officer, volunteering through high school as a police Explorer.

But the 18-year-old Kalihi woman, who enjoyed helping others, never got a chance to fight crime and instead became a victim of crime.

Her father, who held up his daughter's blue Explorer's uniform, made an emotional plea yesterday for help in finding her killer.

“;Please help me,”; said Steven Rodrigues at a news conference yesterday, his eyes filling with tears. “;My daughter was a beautiful girl. I need the public's help. Any information you got, please call.”;

Police said they do not have a suspect in the death of Rodrigues-Kaikana, whose nude body was found Monday morning behind a wall in the back yard of some units at Kamehameha Homes, the public housing project where she went to visit a friend Sunday night.

Homicide Lt. Bill Kato said there were no indications of sexual assault. He said the body appeared to have been placed where found but that it is hard to say whether she was killed there. He said the most visible injury was an abrasion on her right cheek.

Kato said some of Rodrigues-Kaikana's personal items were found with her body, but police are not releasing details.

Police said she was last seen at about 10 p.m. Sunday by friends who were at a residence at Kamehameha Homes, and her body was found at 8:24 a.m. Monday.

The family also asked for help from state Rep. John Mizuno, her cousin's friend, who is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the murder.

Rodrigues said, “;I keep telling myself, 'What happened?' Why did they ... commit this crime? I cannot understand. I pray to God. I cannot sleep.”;

Rodrigues, a single father, said his daughter was the second of five children. Her sisters are 20, 15 and 12, and a brother, 13.

“;They don't understand,”; he said tearfully. “;They asked me, 'Where is Iris?'”;

When he replied that she was dead, they asked, “;Where do they go when they die? Where is she?'”;

He said Iris was “;so loving,”; had lots of friends and was a bright girl who was going to go to college to become either a police officer, a nurse or a prosecutor.

Many in the surrounding neighborhood have fond memories of her.

Destiny Verece, 15, who belonged to the same Polynesian dance halau, said, “;Iris was an all-around girl. She was into everything. She never went against anybody.”;

Two Oahu murders remain unsolved thus far this year. Last year on Oahu there were two unsolved murders.

Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cell phone. Tips leading to an arrest will be awarded $1,000.