A memorial service was held last night for Celina Cass, whose body was discovered a week ago in the Connecticut River not far from her home in Stewartstown. NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.
Celina Cass was buried yesterday in Lancaster in a private ceremony.
Then about 6:30 people gathered for what was described as a celebration of a life that was too short.
Celina attended school in Stewartstown. But the celebration was held across the river in the school in Canaan, Vermont.
It was in the purple-and-gold gym where Celina – who was unusually tall for her age - played on the basketball team.
Sound of Steven Reich singing Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven."
About 300 people – mostly adults - attended.
At the front of the gym was some of Celina’s artwork.
On another table were stuffed animals next to a small figurine of angels and Celina’s picture.
There were posters including one that said “Memories Never Fade.”
Her friends were there but there were also people whose didn’t know Celina but who clearly felt their lives had been touched by her death.
Celina’s mother came in assisted by another woman and sat in the front row, off to one side.
There were about a half dozen speakers and Celina was described as an intelligent, young girl who was growing into a beautiful young woman.
Paula Doyon was Celina’s basketball coach.
“She was concerned and lovable, a natural and an achiever. She was everyone’s best friend. She was always laughing.”
Kirsten Lyons is the school nurse at Stewartstown.
“Let everyone remember Celina as a happy, loving girl with a beautiful smile that touched so many.”
AMAZING GRACE PLAYS
When it was over there were some long hugs and red-faced tears.
But other people simply walked somberly out.
The memorial came two weeks after Celina was last seen at her home.
And a week after her body was found in the river.
An autopsy was inconclusive but police are waiting for a toxicology report.
But police described her death as suspicious and said a criminal investigation continues.
For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen