For a Time, the Candles Pushed back the Dark: A Community Grieves for Jennika
Cold and rain didn’t stop family and friends of 18-year-old Jennika Lee Suazo from gathering at the amphitheater adjacent to the Adorni Center at a memorial yesterday evening. Suazo was found deceased December 9 and her death was called suspicious by a spokesperson for the Eureka Police Department. [All photos by Mark McKenna]
With Christmas lights glowing on the Carson Mansion in the background,
the crowd huddled under umbrellas with lit candles.
Jennika’s mother spoke with those gathered for her daughter’s memorial.
She asked members of crowd to share their stories and memories of her daughter.
Many of the crowd were young people with stunned and anguished faces.
Others were older.
Some grieved quietly alone in the crowd.
Others drew comfort from each other.
Those gathered listened as some shared stories about her life and their connections to her.
Christy Darling told of the close bond that her daughter Amaday Miller had with Jennika. Following the memorial Darling and Miller explained that the two were like sisters and that a third friend Charlotte Mead and the girls were like three peas in a pod.
TJ Virasonh placed a teddy bear among candles and flowers in honor of his friend. The two had attended Zoe Barnum High School together.
Silvia Infante, who knew Jennika since they attended Zane Middle School together, positioned a candle among others at the amphitheater in Eureka.
A friend of Jennika holds a poster covered in photos that was given as a gift to her mother.
Two candles burned as the memorial wound down with lights from fishing boats across the bay reflecting off the water.