About 60 people gathered Tuesday afternoon for a vigil outside the Bethany Police Department. Friends and family gathered beside the building — some crying and others holding photos and posters they created — while a second group stood alongside NW 36 and displayed signs calling for Carina Saunders' killer to be swiftly brought to justice.
“It's heartwarming to know that Carina had a lot of friends and people that supported her. It's a very emotional time for everybody, family and friends. And the family, we would just like to say we appreciate everything everybody is doing,” Christina Vass, Saunders' aunt, said at the vigil.
“We need people to, if they know anything, to contact authorities,” Vass said.
Some, like Gabrielle McAllister, had seen Saunders recently, while others hadn't seen her since their high school classes, but came to the vigil to show their support.
“We were at my house, my apartment, and she just came over to stay the night and just stayed up talking because we haven't seen each other in a couple months or a month,” McAllister said.
“We drove around because we used to drive around out in Mustang and drive on the back roads and just talk about life and just laugh and have fun and just be free for a minute, and that's what we did. ... We just drove around and talked and came home and watched TV and did girl stuff,” she said.
“The best friend anyone could ask for. She never judged me on anything. She was never fake. She was always there for me. ... She was just someone you could call a best friend, which is rare,” McAllister said.
“I just can't fathom the idea of how someone could do something to a girl so sweet, and there's just nothing in my mind that she could have done, or would have done, to cause anyone to do anything to her,” she said.
“I sat behind her in two classes in high school. Every time I talked to her, she was really nice,” Conner Jackson said.
Earlier Tuesday, Saunders' longtime friend, Melissa Wagner, said that Saunders was honest and fun.
“She's not a random person who ended up in a duffel bag,” Wagner said. “She was enjoying life, and someone decided to cut that short. I don't want her to be remembered as what happened to her. All I want people to remember her as is Carina the fun-loving, beautiful person.”