A body found on a New Orleans bridge last Thursday (June 4) has been confirmed to be that of a 16-year-old high school student. According to the local coroner’s office, Kaylan Ward died from blunt force trauma to the head, but her family is seeking more answers as to who is responsible for her passing.
Authorities received a call at around 6:30 a.m. about a body on the I-10 East, which was later identified as Ward. Her death is so far not classified as a homicide, police believe she may have been hit by a car.
Posts circulating around social media say Ward’s body parts were found in different places, that she was sexually assaulted, and ran over “multiple times.” Although police have not confirmed those details,Ward’s mother, Kenisha Martin-Nelson, believes her daughter was murdered. “I will not stop until I get answers,” she said. “This will not become a cold case because I will not allow it.”
On Tuesday evening (June 9) friends and family gathered for a candle light vigil, donning t-shirts from Ward’s “Sweet 16” party this past April. The high schooler was last seen at around midnight, Thursday, walking miles away from where her body was found. Cops say she was asking for a ride to another part of town. “Someone took my daughter, and they hurt her. Someone knows what happened.”
Ward was a junior, and attended McDonogh 35 High School, She was the older sister to two younger brothers, ages 6 and 9. Her mother acknowledge that Ward, like any other teenager, was a bit of a rebel at times, but that she had a great personality. “Everywhere she went, people fell in love with her.”
She was reported missing last December after she ran away from home following a fight with her mother, but eventually returned. “No matter what, she did not deserve to die like this,” Martin-Nelson said. “I had a rebellious child, but I love her.”
Anyone with information on Ward’s death is asked to contact Crimestoppers at 822-1111 or 1-877-903-STOP. Calls can be placed anonymously.
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