WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) - The family and friends of a 23-year-old West Chester woman who disappeared and was later found dead came together to celebrate her life.
With lanterns, balloons, and drums, they honored Ellen "Ellie" Weik at the event on Sunday.
"A day of healing, a day to celebrate Ellie, her life, and the joy and love that she brought to others," said Margie Watts, a family friend.
In her 23 years of life, Weik spread happiness and encouraged kindness, according to those who knew her.
They said she was a free spirit, essentially a 70's flower child born in the wrong era. Some described her as a hippie at heart, bursting with compassion.
"Was an absolute angel," said Pat Decandia, a family friend. "Lived too short, life too short, and I truly believe that she's in heaven."
Her loved ones feel Weik's passing was a tragedy, but they hope Sunday's gathering will start to relieve the pain they have been feeling.
"I just hope that this is a peaceful way of ending such a horrific situation," said Decandia.
All in all, many who knew Weik said she was a positive person who brought light to a world sometimes overshadowed with darkness.
"It doesn't seem real," said Tera Koons, a friend of Weik's. "Just feels like we're just celebrating, and that she's going to come back. Still can't believe it."
Weik was laid to rest at a funeral on Saturday.
The person accused of taking her life, Michael Strouse, is facing murder charges.