KAILUA-KONA — Linda Leilani Mills felt a sense of closure with the latest news in her daughter’s death, which was reclassified by law enforcement from a coroner’s inquest to a murder-suicide.
“It’s been like torture — sleepless nights, depression,” Mills said as she described the past few months awaiting results of the police investigation into the deaths of her daughter, Joy Mills-Ferren and son-in-law, Bradley A. Wood-Ferren. “It’s been the worst six months of my life.”
On Wednesday, Hawaii Police ruled the deaths a murder-suicide. The two were found lifeless in Mills-Ferren’s Alii Drive apartment last summer by a neighbor performing a welfare check.
Officers initially responded to the scene on Aug. 3 at an apartment complex on the 75-6000 block of Alii Drive in Kailua-Kona. Officers found the bodies of the couple within the second-floor unit. A firearm was also located.
Police identified Joy Mills-Ferren, 48, who was also a lifeguard at Magic Sands and Kahaluu beaches, and Brad Wood-Ferren, 56, after conducting an autopsy, which was done on Aug. 10.
“The investigation indicated that each died as a result of a single gunshot wound,” according to a Hawaii Police press release Wednesday. “Independent laboratory examinations along with forensic pathologist findings led police to determine the manner of death for Joy Mills was a homicide while the manner of death for her husband Brad Wood-Ferren was a suicide.”
Despite the results of the investigation, Mills said at least people have answers.
“My daughter was an award-winning hula dancer and a beautiful person,” she said.
Mills added she was told by detectives early on it would take several months to get the results from evidence collected in the case.
Maj. Robert Wagner said evidence was sent to a lab to determine what happened, which took a while.
“We had this information for a while now, but took our time as we wanted to be as certain as we could,” Wagner said.
On Wednesday, Mills said she didn’t plan to file a lawsuit against her son-in-law’s family.
“I don’t want to ruin the Ferren name,” she said. “My pilikia is with the jerk who ended my daughter’s life.”
Mills added the Ferren family lost a loved one too.
“Joy was a woman of aloha and I would reach out to them with aloha and prayers for us to move on,” she said.
Mills was her daughter’s beneficiary. In working with insurance claims she has been required to submit autopsy and police reports, neither of which have been provided up to this point.
Mills filed a request with the police department in January to obtain the reports for the insurance claims. However, on Jan. 25 she received a letter denying her request, indicating the case was still a pending investigation.
On Wednesday, Wagner said the case is now closed.
Wood-Ferren was a Hawaii Preparatory Academy graduate who ran his own brush and weed business.
West Hawaii Today reached out to Annie Ferren, mother of Wood-Ferren, who declined to comment at this time.