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Mother of 16-year-old found dead on interstate tells teens, ‘This is what happens when you don’t listen’

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Kaylan Ward, 16 (Credit: WGNO)

NEW ORLEANS — The coroner’s office in New Orleans has identified the body of a 16-year-old girl who was found dead along Interstate 10 last week.

Kaylan Ward, 16, was killed while walking or attempting to cross the interstate in the dark. Her body was found in the right shoulder emergency lane of the interstate.

The preliminary cause of death is multiple blunt force trauma, according to WVUE.

During a vigil honoring the teen’s life, her mother Kenisha Martin-Nelson told a group of 200 teens that it is important for them to listen to their parents.

“Young people don’t want to listen to your parents,” Kenisha Martin-Nelson said. “This is what happens when you don’t listen.”

Kenisha Martin-Nelson (Credit: WGNO)

Martin-Nelson urged the group of teenagers to stop sneaking around. She said if her child would have just been honest with her, they wouldn’t have been there remembering her life.

“My baby had a demon that has been riding her for about five or six years,” said Martin-Nelson. “This is what happens when you don’t listen… I told my child two weeks ago God is going to put his hands on you and he’s going to sit you down.”

The woman went on to tell the crowd that Ward was her first love. She believes the driver who struck here daughter will be found.

“Was she perfect?” she asked. “No. I had a rebellious child, but I loved her through it all. She did not deserve to die like this.”

Martin-Nelson told WGNO she believes her daughter was murdered.

“They obviously don’t know God. Because to know God is to love. And if you can just murder someone… you don’t have a heart,” she said.

The teen’s death is still under investigation.

A teen’s body was found on Interstate 10 in New Orleans, the second body found on the roadway in less than a week. Credit: WGNO

On Wednesday, a 19-year-old girl’s body was found on the same interstate. Jasilas Wright, of New Orleans, was found on the roadway around 5 a.m.

Louisiana State Police were called around 5 a.m. about a “possible dog or debris” on the interstate near the Veterans Boulevard overpass.  As units arrived on the scene, it was discovered to be the remains of a black female struck by westbound traffic.

Police are now investigating whether the two incidents are related.


  • Wilson

    Attempting to understand the logic here:

    “Young people don’t want to listen to your parents,” Kenisha Martin-Nelson said. “This is what happens when you don’t listen.”

    Let’s see if In have this correct, If you don’t listen to your mom, you will get run over on the interstate??? It seems a wee bit too harsh of a penalty to me but perhaps I am too lenient???

    • Mizz. Nosha

      What the mom is saying is listen to your mom, dad or caregiver if they say don’t sneak out they mean it a minister at my church had a foster child he was a teen at the time and she told him do not sneak out of the house well later that night she went to check on him in his room and he had left the house days later they found his body in a dumpster it was all over fox 6 news yrs ago him and my older brother were friends but I do understand what the mom is saying I tell my kids all the time if you be honest with me and tell me the truth I will not get on you but if you lie you’ll get it not obeying your parents might just cost you your life

      I apologize for no .,; or! Just hope you get the message

    • harmony

      No what she mean is stop giving your moms and dads or whomever a heard time listen to what they telll you if she would of been listening this wouldn’t of been here doing this today.

  • Worthy

    I think what the mother was saying was if she had listen she might have been home and safe, she was trying to use her horrible situation to warn kids of the dangers of being in places and in the presence of people that they have clearly been warned about.

  • jessie furr

    Sounds like they were taken to a common place and they were able to escape highly intoxicated off of something and probably just running not knowing where they were…,,,

  • Charita

    No death wasn’t deserved and I hope they catch who did it. But that is something that can happen when they put themselves out there. Our prayers are, they don’t get killed or locked up. but the world is so messed up it can happen. Only thing you can do is ask God to prepare you for the outcome when they’re not listening…. That’s all that mother did and that’s what gave her the strength to speak the way she did….. but I still felt her pain.. You could hear it in her voice. It takes a villege to raise a child. It takes a villege. Everyones child is all of ours, because when something happen we all feel the pain. That’s what God is trying to tell us and we will continue to lose this fight until we come togethe. Can’t no one person do it, because you can’t watch them 24-7… My heart goes out to this mother and she is right. I love she’s willing to try and save another/many child/ren.

  • deidra

    I dont understand why she was walking on a highway r.i.p. i dont think she was hit someone had to drop her there this is sad and should not happen just cause she did not listen… People in this world are becoming monsters and its sad and scary.

  • Naomi

    No one can say why a person, especially a young person deserves to die in any type of way. I’m sorry but that mom did not look like she was hurting to me. It appeared as thought she was angry for whatever her daughter may have been telling her ( reality check ) and she is justifying it by saying she deserved what she got. Wow, I’m so glad God did not give up on us and die on the cross for us. I guess God could have put the last person on the cross that turned on him and justified it. Come on now…. and to say her baby had a demon and actually timed out when the demon appeared, wow, that is some creepy stuff. I pray God have mercy on that mom and help her to forgive her daughter. Remember we raise our children, don’t get mad when the results start to show.

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