Family and friends of Sierra Bush gathered together and honored the life of the 18-year-old on Wednesday night after she was found dead on Saturday in Boise County near Idaho City.
Bush — also known to many as Simon — was missing since late September. The cause of death is still under investigation, according to a statement released by the Boise Police Department.
“Sierra’s disappearance has been suspicious from the beginning and this is a tragic discovery for everyone who knows her,” Boise Police Sgt. Justin Kendall said in the statement. “Every missing person’s case is initially investigated as being suspicious and Sierra was not the type to disappear without telling anyone. For weeks, our detectives have been following up on leads and our investigation is ongoing.”
Her loved ones congregated at the Boise State Student Union Building where she was a student at Boise State University.
Plenty of people came to pay their respects inside the ballroom that event organizers were adding more chairs right before the event began.
“One of my favorite quotes from her is: ‘If I can be as weird as I am, you can be as you as you are,'” Samantha McGraw, a friend of Bush, told KTVB, a local news station.
Evan O’Beirne, one of Bush’s close friends since freshman year of high school, told KTVB that she was a special person in his life.
“She helped me become who I am today,” O’Beirne said. “The impact that she had on people – even if you met her for only one second – it was the acceptance that you felt. You didn’t have to pretend anymore, it was like, OK this is safe.”
Bush was a freshman student at Boise State studying engineering in the Honors College, as well as being involved in a wide range of school activities on campus.
The event held on Wednesday evening was organized by different organizations to give people a place to grieve. Many are still shocked by her death, they told KTVB, but they will carry on her legacy.
“Really just spreading her message of loving yourself, being who you want to be, not letting anybody stand in the way of your dreams,” McGraw said.
The Boise Police Department is still investigating Bush’s death. A GoFundMe page was set up to help her family cover the costs of funeral arrangements.