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Body of homicide suspect found in Koke‘e

KOKE‘E — After a weeklong search, officials believe they have found the body of the Lawa‘i man suspected in his father’s homicide.

The body of Kody Gardner, 22, was discovered Thursday in Koke‘e. He fled to the area in a stolen vehicle last week.

“Due to the ongoing windy, rainy, and cloudy weather conditions and remote location, we have not yet been able to recover the body,” said Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD) Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce.

“The safety of our Air-1 pilot, firefighters and rescue personnel, police officers, and partnering agencies involved in the recovery attempts is priority, and we will continue our efforts in the near future during favorable weather conditions.”

In the early morning of Feb. 16, Kody Gardner’s father, 52-year-old Delwood Kalei Gardner of Kahili Mountain, was killed on Kuilei Street in Lawa‘i.

An autopsy conducted on Thursday confirmed that his death occurred as a result multiple penetrating sharp force injuries to the neck

It was the first confirmed homicide on island in three years. In February 2020, the police department launched a homicide investigation after a man was found dead alongside Kuhio Highway in Moloa‘a.

Kody Gardner is believed to have fled the Kuilei Street scene in a GMC pickup truck, which was later located at the Waimea Canyon Lookout.

Police say they do not know what the motive might have been and reported that Kody Gardner suffered from mental illness.

The homicide triggered an eight-day multiagency search, which included representatives of the Kaua’i Police Department, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Kaua’i Search and Rescue (KSAR), friends and family of the decedent, and other volunteers.

Because of the remote location and nature of the search, agencies used Air-1, drones, and search and rescue canines.

“Our hearts go out to the family, loved ones, and all affected by this tragedy,” Ponce said. “We thank all our partners involved in this multiagency search and the public for your patience and support.”


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or
Source: The Garden Island

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