Canaan, Vt. – On Monday, about 300 people gathered to remember Celina Cass, whose lifeless body was found in a river near her Stewartstown, NH home on Aug. 1.
Those present at the event, held in a school gymnasium, said the 11-year-old was a shy, loving girl who never had a harsh word for anyone.
Celina, 11, was last seen in her room at about 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2011. On the morning of Aug. 1, her body was found in the Connecticut River about a quarter-mile from her family home. Reports indicate her body was wrapped in a blanket when it was discovered.
An autopsy has failed to determine Celina’s cause of death, thus, authorities are now waiting for toxicology test results to help them find what killed the fifth-grader.
To see photos of Celina, click here.
“Evil took a child away, but a message returned,” said Rev. Craig Cheney at Monday night’s “celebration of life” held at a Canaan, Vt. gym where Celina played basketball, according to Macon.com.
Photos of Celina were placed around the gym, along with her artwork, photos and stuffed animals. A slideshow was also shown of the girl, in which she could be seen swimming, playing with friends and participating in basketball.
Paula Doyon, her basketball coach spoke at the memorial regarding a St. Patrick’s Day game that Celina showed up to play wearing a green shamrock headband.
“I just looked at her, in my coach’s mode, and I said ‘Celina, you can’t wear that.’ I said ‘The refs aren’t going to let you wear that,’” Doyon said. “She just looked at me with her infectious smile and said ‘But Paula, where’s your spirit?’”
The nurse at Stewartstown Community School, Kirsten Lyons, where Celina would have been a fifth-grader, said “Everyone remembers Celina as a happy, loving girl with a beautiful smile that touched so many.”
She added, “Hug your children harder… Pull in the reins a little bit more. Say ‘I love you’ a little bit more.”
No one has been named a person of interest in the case, however, Celina’s stepfather, Wendell Noyes, who has a history of mental illness and was arrested for threatening an ex-girlfriend in 2003, has been questioned by police. His truck and another man’s vehicle were seized by police several days ago.
After reportedly acting bizarrely on the morning Celina’s body was found, Noyes was whisked away by ambulance and taken to a local hospital. He was released Tuesday, but on Thursday, he checked himself into a mental health facility.
Authorities are urging anyone with information about Celina’s case to call New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333.
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