The woman found in a Waikiki dumpster last week died from a homicide by asphyxiation, the medical examiner said on Friday.
Joseph Kahawai, 46, was arrested Thursday in connection with her death. He was charged with murder Friday with his bail set at $1 million.
The body of 51-year-old Janine Meyer was found near the Hawaiian Colony Condominium last Monday.
Her family is preparing for her funeral on Saturday. They say she was a woman always willing to give.
"It's hard," said Meyer's sister Merrit Caldeira. "I see pictures of us together and I get a little weepy."
Caldeira said, as a child Meyer wanted to be a model and loved to dance hula. In her teens, she smoked marijuana that she didn't know was laced with PCP, and said that changed her life, but not who she was.
"Through the last 38 years, we have seem glimpses of her. Just moments," she said. "You see moments of who she was."
Caldeira said Meyer was constantly on medication after being diagnosed with manic-depressive schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Caldeira said it's a condition that left her living on the streets.
Meyer's family said it was at the mental health shelter Safe Haven where Meyer met Kahawai. They said she spoke of him, but they didn't know much about him.
"She would just say, 'I'm hanging, I'm hanging out,'" Caldeira said. "'He takes care of me. He takes care of me,' and for me, I thought it was simply, he looked out for her on the street. I love my sister and I love people and I feel bad for him because he has to live with this."
Meyer's mother Olinda Amtsberg said, "She wanted to bring him to my house and I told her no, please don't do that. I didn't want strangers coming to my house. It hurts me to know what happened to her. She suffered."
Calderia said it's an end to a life full of suffering. Still, she says she was always giving.
"She would be living on the streets, she would have 50 cents in her pocket. If she saw somebody that needed something, she would pull that 50 cents out and give it away," Caldeira said.
The family said Saturday's funeral at Kalama Beach Club is open to the public. After that, they'll spread her ashes at Pounders, one of her favorite beaches.