(BCN) — They gathered collectively in Oakley Civic Heart Plaza across the base of town’s Christmas tree, its twinkling blue lights contrasting with the tiny flames of tons of of candles held by associates and strangers who got here to say goodbye to Alexis Gabe and present their assist for the household and volunteers who spent months attempting to convey her house.
They got here to grieve, and to hope.
“It’s been a very, actually arduous 12 months for us,” mentioned Gwyn Gabe, Alexis’s father, as he appeared out on the silent crowd. “Not simply dropping our daughter, our solely daughter, but additionally dropping my father in regulation, my spouse’s father. It’s been actually arduous for us. However what offers us consolation is the love and assist from this neighborhood. That’s what’s actually holding us and we actually, actually thanks from the underside of our hearts. Thanks a lot for coming right here tonight to grieve with us, and pray with us.
“I’m fairly positive our daughter is up there smiling, watching us proper now, and once more we will’t actually thanks sufficient,” he mentioned.
Alexis was final seen alive on Jan. 26, the day she drove to the Antioch house of her ex-boyfriend, Marshall Jones. Her automobile was later discovered deserted in Oakley. Police suspected Jones killed the 24-year-old Oakley lady and transported her physique to the Sierra foothills, the place her partial stays had been finally found in Amador County early final month together with duct tape and black plastic trash baggage.
Jones was fatally shot by police in Kent, Washington, in June after they went to arrest him in reference to the killing. Although police take into account the case now closed, the Gabes can’t relaxation as they proceed looking for Alexis’s stays and justice for the one that will now not be a part of their future Christmas holidays.
‘You all cared’
Mayor Sue Higgins, in what was probably her final public look as a member of the Oakley Metropolis Council earlier than her substitute is sworn in, helped manage Friday’s vigil and spoke of town’s assist for the household.
“I mentioned to the council, we’ve to place the cash as much as assist discover Alexis,” Higgins mentioned of the preliminary $50,000 reward fund. That determine swelled to $100,000 after an nameless donor matched town’s contribution.
“However the story’s not over. It’s not ending right here tonight. We would like justice for what has occurred, and we’re preserving the candle lit for Alexis to search out her. She’s fully in our hearts. She’s introduced us collectively, and I hope we keep that means.”
For some, like Alexis’s older brother Gwyn Marqus Gabe, Friday was the primary time they needed to accumulate their feelings in public.
“It’s been actually arduous,” Marqus mentioned in a low, halting voice. “I haven’t proven my face shortly as a result of I’m therapeutic. She was my greatest pal and I miss her day by day. You guys gave us a lot energy to maintain pushing ahead. I can’t consider how massive this group is.
“I do know me and my older cousin would hear Alexis on a regular basis discuss how she would hopefully say, you already know, if she ever simply ran away, nobody would care, OK? I do know a few of us out right here additionally thought that too. However what they don’t see as soon as they’re gone is how a lot everybody does care.
“Numerous you don’t know her personally, however you all confirmed up. You all cared. Once we see her I can’t wait to rub it in her face, you already know? Like take a look at all these individuals who confirmed up. A whole bunch of individuals, hundreds of individuals on the web page. Thanks so, a lot.”
He was talking concerning the Assist Carry Alexis Gabe Residence group on Fb, which has amassed greater than 16,600 followers sharing data and lending assist to the household all through their ordeal.
And one after the other, a lot of these associates and supporters got here ahead to recollect the individual with the infectious smile who was at all times a pal to everybody. Prospects of the native Ceremony Help, the place Alexis labored, recalling the primary time they met her: “She handled me like household. She had the very best smile, the very best character.”
A former highschool pal mentioned, “She simply made you need to smile on a regular basis. … Even when she didn’t know you, however knew that there was one thing occurring, she put you first.”
Her flame burns brightly
Through the occasion volunteers handed out frosted cookies formed like angel wings, pink wristbands with the message “By no means Forgotten — Carry Alexis Residence,” and dozens of 5-inch candles the mourners held throughout the vigil — too quick, it appeared, for a number of that burned themselves out earlier than the tip of the hour-long ceremony. However singed fingers and blades of grass paled in comparison with the ache within the hearts of those that got here to grieve.
“I do know loads of you mentioned you’ll always remember Alexis. We recognize all that,” Gwyn Gabe mentioned when the final of the tributes was expressed.
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The household is planning a celebration of life for Alexis on Jan. 28, 2023, on the Oakley Recreation Heart, though house limitations probably will imply not all will be capable to attend. The household thanked town and Oakley Police Division for his or her efforts to arrange Friday’s vigil and find their lacking daughter.
“We wished [the service] to occur in Oakley as a result of that is the place we reside. We’ve been residing right here for 10 years this month.”
Elvin Reyes and his spouse Dorothy Reyes got here from San Ramon to be a part of the vigil. They’ve a particular reference to the Gabe household — Elvin attended highschool with Alexis’s father Gwyn and is the godparent to certainly one of their sons.
“I feel the neighborhood coming collectively was simply superior,” Elvin mentioned because the candle flames extinguished and the gang started to disperse into the evening.
“It was uplifting,” Dorothy Reyes agreed. “We’re from one other metropolis, so coming right here and seeing this was very good.”
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