Friends looking for answers in death of woman

Friends of Patrice Lawson, who was found dead on the grounds of Kahana Manor last year, are marking the one-year anniversary of her death Friday with sign waving along Honoapiilani Highway.

They’re hoping to generate more information about what happened in the hours before the 40-year-old woman’s body was found early on the morning of Oct. 11, 2012.

“For us, it’s been a year and for her kids and her family, it’s been a year,” said her longtime friend Tina McRoberts, who worked with Lawson at Pineapple Grill in Kapalua. “We want to know what happened.”

A police investigation into Lawson’s death remains open, said Lt. David Silva of the Lahaina Criminal Investigation Division.

“If there are any witnesses that saw her that night or have any new information about what might have happened, we will look into it,” Silva said. “The case has not been closed. We’re open to any new leads.”

The case has been classified as an unattended death, Silva said.

Police declined to disclose the autopsy results. Anyone who might have information can call the Lahaina Criminal Investigation Division at 661-0559.

People can also email McRoberts at to provide information or to participate in the sign-waving rally. Wearing T-shirts saying “Justice for Patrice” and “Friends of Patrice,” friends plan to gather from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Friday on Honoapiilani Highway at Hoohui Road, near Kahana Manor, where Lawson lived.

Police said Lawson’s body was found in ground cover along a walkway on the mauka side of the complex. Her body was discovered by Kahana Manor residents returning home from work at about 4 a.m.

Lawson’s roommate, Sandy Lurie, said that when her body was found, Lawson had her slippers on and her cellphone was tucked into her bra.

“Whether it was an accident or not, somebody knows something,” Lurie said. “We can’t let this go away.”

Lawson had been working as a server at Pineapple Grill after moving to Maui from Oklahoma, where she had been an emergency room nurse, McRoberts said.

Lawson was divorced and had two adult sons.

“She loved it here,” McRoberts said.

She said Lawson had been taking a break from nursing but probably would have eventually returned to the field.

Before Lawson’s death, she had been excited about plans to return to Oklahoma for her older son’s wedding, which occurred in November, McRoberts said.

“She had her flights booked,” McRoberts said. “She had her wedding dress picked out.”

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at