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.



  • So sad another death in our community RIP

  • So sad. Mark, thanks for the wonderful photos capturing this celebration of a life gone way too soon. Rest in Peace……

  • This is happening way to much.we have to find a way to help our young people.heart breaking,my heartfelt blessings to family.and friends.

  • Extremely sad…..much too young and to have to leave in the manner this young soul left is just inexcusable!! I hope they get the responsible party for this SOON~

  • Such a beautiful celebration of life. She was definitely loved by so many who showed up to say goodbye. So sad. So young. RIP Jennika & I pray that your family can heal.

  • Why would a child feel so hopeless that suicide is her only choice wake up eureka there is nothing here for them to look forward to u don’t seem to get it mental health Dr should b free to anyone an a person shouldn’t be scared to ask for help because of what may happen to them

  • No one commits suicide with a sock stuffed in their mouth shoved into an old sauna…She was scared of her mom’s Boyfriend, supposedly he kept “Bothering” her…Hope justice is served soon…

  • Y has nothing been done?
    HE did this!!!!

  • Can we please not list any supposed “details” here? A young life is gone. A family is mourning and distroyed. Unless that family wishs to release it, any and all “knowledge” of this crime should only be shared with the police. It does no one any good to sensationalize it.

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