Family and friends gather to honor Stephanie Low with balloon release
WAUSAU (WAOW) -- 22-year-old Stephanie Low disappeared from her apartment in Wausau four years ago. Every year on the anniversary of her disappearance, family and friends gathered in hopes of finding her.
"Four years we've done this to bring her face and name out there so people are aware she's missing," explained Claudia Blake, Low's mother.
Friday evening, the group gathered again at Oak Island Park in Wausau. This time, they knew she won't be coming home.
Last month, investigators say they were led to a shallow grave near Wabeno. Inside the grave was Low's body.
Family members say the event was planned when they were still looking for Low. Now, the vigil has a new meaning.
"She's not missing anymore," said Christine Reimer, a family friend. "We're here for memories."
Each year, Low's loved ones gathered to release hundreds of purple balloons in her honor. Family members say, the community helped them get through the difficult times.
Friday, loved ones laughed and cried as they shared their favorite memories of Low.
"We just want to have her story told," said Reimer. "The whole thing is to keep communities knowing what we went through to get to where we are today."
Although Low has been found, her family says their journey hasn't come to and end yet.
"Our search for answers is over," said Blake. "But our fight for justice has just begun."
Some family members hope to keep the balloon release a tradition.