Two thousand people filled the field at Nechako Valley Secondary School in Vanderhoof, B.C., Saturday.
A candlelight vigil for Madison Scott drew a crowd almost half the size of the community of 4,500.
Scott loved hockey and baseball and attendees were invited to wear jerseys in her honour.
“It’s the start of the healing journey that we can come together and be there for each other,” Vanderhoof Mayor Kevin Moutray said.
Former classmates of Scott’s remember her vibrant personality.
“Just her happiness her whole demeanour of always smiling always and always in a good mood and really just such a spark,” said Michael Simoes.
“We were sharing lots of pictures and memories and talking and it’s just a different feeling — I don’t really know how to put a finger on it,” said Brittany Giesbrecht.
Exactly 12 years after she vanished, Scott’s remains were discovered on a rural property on the southeast edge of Vanderhoof last week.
RCMP investigators are at the site, and conducting a search of the property through a warrant.
A heavy police presence remains at the property, in the 6500 block of Southslope Road, with an RCMP checkpoint halfway up the driveway.
Scott’s parents said they never gave up hope their daughter would be found.
“There’s not a day or a minute that goes by (that) she’s not part of what we are,” Dawn and Eldon Scott said in a Dec. 2011 public appeal.
Scott was last seen around 3 a.m. on May 28, 2011, at Hogsback Lake, which is southeast of Vanderhoof. She was celebrating a friend’s birthday.
When the 20-year-old didn’t return home, her parents drove to the lake the next day and found her truck with her purse still inside, as well as a flattened tent.
“Our initial search efforts were around the lake and the trails and what was significant on that first day was the lack of clues other than the truck and tent located,” said Chris Mushumanski with Nechako Valley Search and Rescue.
“We were deeply disappointed that we didn’t find her in those first few days,” added Mark Durupt of Nechako Valley Search and Rescue.
The rural property where Scott was found is about 18 kilometres away from Hogsback Lake.
RCMP officials have said the rural property search is ongoing and “will take as long as is required.”
Foul play has not been ruled out in Scott’s death and no charges have been laid.
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