Kauai man says body found in Kalalau Valley is his brother
By Paul Curtis
The Garden Island
LIHUE — Police yesterday continued to investigate the death of a man whose decomposing body was discovered Sunday in his sleeping bag in Kalalau Valley.
Authorities had not positively identified him by press time yesterday, but Nolan Ahn is certain the deceased is his only brother, Rodney Ahn, who had lived in the remote North Shore valley for years.
(The Kaua'i Police Department on Wednesday afternoon identified the man as 58-year-old Rodney Ahn.)
“That’s him,” Ahn said yesterday, adding that authorities told him they’re “90 percent sure” the body discovered by one of Rodney Ahn’s friends Sunday is Ahn.
County officials said an autopsy was performed yesterday, but a cause of death is pending the receipt of a toxicology report.
Kauai police investigators confirmed the person found is male, according to Mary Daubert, county public information officer.
Nolan Ahn said dental records should confirm the man found is his brother, a lifelong Kauai resident who had been a waiter and surfer on the South Shore before heading north.
When he saw Rodney last month, Nolan said his brother looked tired, and they had a conversation about what might happen if Rodney got sick alone in Kalalau.
Ahn said his brother told him, “ ‘That’s where I wanna be and that’s where I want to end up.’ So I guess he was happy.
“He got all the choices he wanted. Maybe we should all get that lucky,” said Nolan, who lives and works in Lihue.
Nolan said he met one of his brother’s girl friends last month as well, but did not want to identify her. That woman hiked in to look for Rodney after his scheduled exit from the valley didn’t happen on the agreed-upon date, Nolan said.
His brother complained of a cough and asked the woman to bring him cough syrup, he said.
She knows his various valley campsites, and found him dead in a sleeping bag at one of those hidden sites, Ahn said.
Kathleen Ho, whose family hosted Rodney Ahn at their Kalaheo home at New Year’s, said the last time they went to the rim of Kalalau Valley they didn’t see Ahn.
Their way of saying “hi to Uncle Rodney” was to blow conch at the valley’s rim, said Ho, adding that in a way her photo of her family blowing conch with Ahn’s beloved Kalalau Valley in the background was a way of spiritually sending him off.