A vigil for Sarah Alarid, the teen whose body was found in the Angeles National Forest about a week after she was reported missing, drew a large and solemn crowd on a cold Wednesday night.
"Sarah's watching all this saying, 'This is for me?' Yes, sweetie, this is for you," said one person at the vigil.
More than 150 people, including deputies on the ground and in helicopters, searched for Alarid in the days after her disappearance. Loved ones told NBC4 they're as grateful to the searchers as they are heartsick about the outcome.
"Very devastated with what happened today, the findings of today," said Bryan Alarid, the woman's uncle. "Tragic. Hoping it wasn't gonna turn out this way."
Alarid's body was found near a vehicle off an Angeles National Forest road Wednesday afternoon. Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials identified her as the woman reported missing after a New Year's Eve gathering.
The vehicle is registered to 19-year-old Alarid, a Canyon Country woman who was missing since New Year's Day. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Steve Whitmore said investigators made the connection after running a check of the vehicle's license plates Wednesday morning.
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel were lowered to the site of the car, which was on its roof in the ravine east of Santa Clarita near Sand Canyon and Little Tujunga roads (map).
Her father works in the area as a superintendent firefighter. At the vigil Wednesday night, he implored parents to do what he no longer can.
"Always hold your children tight," he said. "Always know what they're doing, protect 'em. You just never know when they're not gonna come home."
Alarid's body was found about 300 yards from the vehicle, Whitmore said.
"It appears Ms. Alarid was ejected from the vehicle," Lt. Dave Dolson said. "All indications are at this time that there is no foul play at this time. It appears to be an accident."
Dolson said there is "information" that Alarid may have been drinking at a New Year's Ever party about 10 miles from the crash site.
Alarid disappeared after attending the gathering, held at a friend's house. She was driving a 2002 Ford Focus at the time.
The vehicle was found near what was initially being investigated as a shallow grave discovered earlier Wednesday. No body was found at that location and authorities left that site Wednesday morning.