How Aly Yeoman died is not yet known.
But at a memorial Saturday in Gridley, her friends and family chose not to focus on the circumstances that lead to her death and instead celebrated the life of the 20-year-old college student who went missing in May.
“Instead of a funeral, we decided to do a celebration of her life,” said Kristen Sannar, Yeoman’s longtime friend. “She was a very outgoing person.”
Yeoman, whose body was found in the Feather River in early May, was last seen March 30 leaving a home in Yuba City. Her truck and phone were found in an orchard near the Live Oak Recreation Area days after she disappeared.
Authorities are still investigating her death, said Chief Dean Price of the Gridley-Biggs Police Department.
“We know she was found in the river, but anything beyond that is speculation,” Price said. “We’re still waiting for the forensic evidence.”
He said the memorial was also a way to draw attention to the importance of being self-aware.
Yeoman’s mom, Paula Ede, started the day with a prayer.
“In my heart you hold a place no one else can ever fill,” Ede said before dozens of friends and family members who gathered for the memorial. “It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn’t go alone.”
Yeoman’s friend Valerie Hopkins followed with a song. Like many who gathered at the memorial, Hopkins questioned the cause of Yeoman’s death.
“We’re leaning toward it not being accidental,” Hopkins said. “But today we want to celebrate her life. She was loved by so many people in this community.”
Anyone with information pertaining to the case is asked to call the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office at 530-822-7307.