FORT MORGAN, Colo. (CBS4) – The people of Fort Morgan found their own way to mourn when friends and family gathered around the Fort Morgan Park gazebo to remember the life of Kayla Chadwick.
Several people lit candles and held up cellphones while offering prayers for the teen who went missing March of last year.
“As we remember Kayla, her life her ambitions,” said Pastor Terry Barnett to the crowd grouped around. “Lord the things she accomplished and the things she didn’t accomplish.”
Those in the search party gathered wearing matching yellow shirts with the Chadwick’s picture on the front that had been the symbol of the long search. Some family members still had optimism that they would be reunited with Kayla until they received the bad news last week.
“I still had hope that she still was alive,” said Veronica Forsythe, a cousin of Chadwick. “But then reality came to it on the Fourth.”
Chadwick’s body was found last week in an irrigation ditch about one mile east of Highway 52 near Fort Morgan. A DNA test revealed that the body was in fact Chadwick, ending the over 16 month long search.
“She would love to see all of you guys here. She loved anyone who would just be there,” said Kayla’s friend Ariana Leamon, addressing the crowd. “She loved everyone and to see you guys here today here is amazing.”
Chadwick’s boyfriend Ivan Torralba and his mother Lucy were arrested on charges of lying to a grand jury investigating the case. Despite the arrests and charges, authorities say that neither Ivan nor Lucy Torralba have been named suspects in Chadwick’s death.
Along with prayers and tears several people voiced the need for justice for Chadwick, whose life, they believe, was cut too short.
– By Josh Christensen, CBS4Denver.com