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‘Everybody loved her’: Kauai family worried police missed key clues in mother’s death

In October 2021, Kauai police put out a plea to the public for helping finding 54-year-old Joddielynn Taylor.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:23 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:32 PM HST

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In October 2021, Kauai police put out a plea to the public for helping finding 54-year-old Joddielynn Taylor.

Ten days after she was last seen alive at a Koloa grocery store, her body was found in some bushes by people walking along a path in the Kukuiula area on the island’s south side.

Today, Taylor’s family is still grappling with their heartache ― and wondering if police were wrong to call her death a suicide.

“Everybody loved her,” her son Nicholas Pedro said. “When someone needed help, she was always there.”

His sister, Sasha Kanei, also remembers their family-oriented mom as fun-loving and always smiling.

“You know she may be a tita here and there but she was outgoing, she loved to cruise,” Kanei said.

Joddielynn Taylor is remembered by her family as an easy-going, happy woman who adored her...
Joddielynn Taylor is remembered by her family as an easy-going, happy woman who adored her family and grandchildren.(Sasha Kanei)

Taylor’s body was found Oct. 17. Police said it was badly decomposed.

An autopsy ruled the death was a suicide, and the family said a rope nearby was among some of the evidence police collected.

However, the family believes it was foul play and police missed key clues in the case.

“To me it just, it feels like we can’t trust anyone really. You know? Especially like KPD,” Pedro said. “They not going do nothing. They need evidence.”

“Well there is evidence, they just didn’t get any, I believe,” Kanei added.

Her children say their mom had been threatened in the past, and was apparently found with a knife nearby for an unknown reason.

They also say there was evidence her car was moved and tampered with after she died.

Her vehicle was found near to where her body was located.

But it was recovered five days before her body was found.

The Kauai Police Department said it’s still waiting for the autopsy report to be finalized before sharing all of their findings, which can take on average three to four months.

“It is frustrating at times with families because they want things done as soon as possible to bring final closure, but some things are just out of our control,” KPD Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce said.

“We wish that things could be faster, but in these type of cases, it does take a little while for everything to come together,” Ponce added.

Police say they’ve been responsive to the family’s requests for information.

But the family feels they’ve been kept in the dark ― and didn’t realize that police stopped investigating for foul play after deciding it was suicide.

The details surrounding the death simply don’t add up for Kanei and Pedro. They say their mom had too much to live for, including a newborn great-grandchild.

“There’s a whole lot of other stuff to this story and that’s why it makes us very suspicious,” Kanei said.

For now, her children are left wondering what really happened to their mom as they process the loss.

“It sucks. My mom is gone. She’s never coming back. And that’s the hardest part,” Pedro said. “If we can get the answers and closure for this, then at least she can be in peace and she can rest.”

Earlier this week, detectives met with Kanei and she was able to get some of her mom’s personal items.

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