Vigil for slain Kalihi teen

Steven Rodrigues
Steven Rodrigues
Destiny Verece
Destiny Verece

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

KALIHI (KHNL) - Heavy hearts and hopeful prayers at the spot where a slain Kalihi teen took her last breath not long ago. The body of 18-year-old Iris Rodrigues-Kaikana was found in an alley along the Kamehameha Homes housing project.

Mourners gathered for an emotional prayer walk and candlelight vigil in her honor. Friends and family say the shock and the sadness of Iris' loss is still raw. They say the pain will never be erased, but it can be eased. The first step to healing is spiritually cleansing the land where she last laid.

There was a single file of sorrow and a trail of tears for Rodrigues-Kaikana. Each stride, each step is symbolic. Those gathered in the alley want strength because the weeks without Rodrigues-Kaikana have felt so weak.

"You can just feel the support of all the people that are here," said the victim's father Steven Rodrigues.

Each candle's flame means frustration, also anger for her accused killer Corbit Ahn.

"I don't know how somebody could do that to a girl like her," said the victim's friend Destiny Verece.

But for her father Steven, it's forgiveness.

"You can't turn back the hands of time, you have to move forward," said Rodrigues.

"She's in a better place now," said Verece.

"She's right here looking at us. I love you Iris, I love you very much," said Rodrigues.

These flames are not forever, but every thought, every tear, every touching hand are fuel to the faith that the memory of Iris's kind heart and gentle spirit will never fade. The suspect, 29-year-old Corbit Ahn is in police custody, unable to post $2 million dollars bail. His arraignment is Thursday, September 17th. If convicted of the crime, Ahn could face up to life in prison without parole.