PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The remains of a 21-year-old woman were found August 13 at Rooster Rock State Park, but the search into the cause of her death continues.
Stephanie Celeste Jones’ family members held an emotional vigil Thursday night. For privacy reasons they asked not to be named, but told KOIN 6 News detectives haven’t told them much about the investigation.
But losing Stephanie in this sudden and unexpected way has ripped a hole in their hearts, they said.
Family and friends gathered in Peninsula Park to remember the 21-year-old. “I can’t accept the fact that my sister is gone. My heart is broken. It feels like someone took a piece out of me,” her sister said.
She was one of 10 siblings. They gathered on stage along with others to remember Stephanie, who had a big heart and was the life of the party.
“Stephanie was beautiful, brillant, bright and she brought joy in so many peoples lives without even knowing it,” one sister said. Her older brother added, “That was my little sister, you know. She was always the little sister that acted like the big sister.”
One sister asked those at the gathering to search their hearts, saying you never know when you might lose a loved one.
“What happened to my sister, totally unexpected, you just never know, you could be here today and gone tomorrow,” she said.
Her cousin said, “Those loved ones that you aren’t seeing right now, make sure you see them right now, because you never know when someone might not make the next day.”
After a moment of silence, the siblings gathered by the park fountain and led the crowd in releasing pink balloons, which was Stephanie’s favorite color. They filled the air as family and friends released them in her memory.
“We lost a sister, and unfortuantely this is all we get. We have to remember her as she was. So, let that sink in. We can’t see our sister,” her sister said. “So, be safe going home, just remember Jesus loves you. Keep the community safe.”
Another sibling added, “I’m just asking everyone to pray for us. Pray for us. This is beyond surreal. This is hard.”
Call the Oregon State Police at 1-800-442-0776 or *OSP if you have any information.