(Updated 10:48 pm with addition of this video by Cliff DesPeaux for WSB)
They gathered to light candles to remember a friend, a loved one, gone too soon – 24-year-old Jeremy Peck. Said one mourner, as shown in our video: “Who’s not gonna remember that smile?”
(Photos by Deanie Schwarz)
Just hours short of exactly one month since his disappearance, and just steps away from where he was last seen, they gathered at California/College for mourning and memories.
After the vigil, many moved on to the Heartland Café around the corner.
ADDED 8:48 PM: Full report from WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz:
Kelly Irvine and Joan Doty‘s sons, Josh and Ben, were two of the Alki Panthers 2004 City Championship basketball team members who were well-represented to honor their former teammate Jeremy. Kelly says all of the boys on that team were at the memorial.
Jeremy and the team played together for eight + years, according to Joan: “They worked their way up to it, together with a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there. It is a very tight-knit group of boys.”
Pictures of their championship team, along with many other cherished photos of Jeremy and his childhood and young adult buddies, adorned a tryptych to celebrate and recall cherished memories for those grieving the loss of their lifelong friend.
John Peck, Jeremy’s uncle/adopted father, found the words to express his gratitude to those who were in attendance, but was too overcome to speak at length.
Then, when a number of Jeremy’s buddies — both from childhood and more recently — spoke to the crowd, their tales of rambunctious and adventurous young men operating under the ever-watchful eye of Uncle John brought big smiles to John’s tear-stained face. From the sidelines, he shouted out encouragement to a speaker having difficulty finding words through their emotions, saying that he knows Jeremy would have liked that he had gathered together with everyone to share their stories.
Even those who were strangers to Jeremy echoed the same notion. A woman who spoke to the group was not a member of the inner circle of childhood friends, nor did they know who she was; she said she didn’t know Jeremy, but that he “didn’t get what he needed” and that “We need to stand up for this kid and make sure they gather the evidence we need.”
Joan Doty says, “I think she made a good point. We need to make noise to keep this in the forefront of the police department’s consciousness so they will start investigating.” She went on to say, “I think it is ridiculous that they will wait until eight to ten weeks to start. If I had done ‘foul play’ to someone, that [timespan] would give me plenty of time to cover my tracks.”
Joan Doty’s son, Ben, had said that the pressure of it all is increasing and that people are getting angrier. “To those people,” Joan continues, “I would say, try to channel that anger into something positive and legal. I would hate to see people going out and taking matters into their own hands and, maybe, getting [involved] with the wrong person or getting themselves into trouble. I would hate to see it come to that. People are angry. It should have never happened. And to have it seemingly ignored – maybe it really isn’t the case – but that is the way it seems to some people.”
Many who spoke to WSB found it difficult to express how desperately frustrating all of the uncertainty of the past month has been, and how that frustration continues: Even though the confirmation of Jeremy’s death has resolved the question of where he is, the question remains of how it came to be so.
ADDED EARLY MONDAY: Donations are being accepted to help Jeremy’s family; as noted here Saturday night, there is a Facebook page you can use to donate via PayPal (go here).
ADDED MONDAY AFTERNOON: There’s also a benefit dinner/karaoke event at Chelan Café this Sunday night – see the Facebook invite here, and organizers are asking that you RSVP.