Until Riley Powell and Brelynne “Breezy” Otteson disappeared in December 2017, Jeremy Maclee didn’t know any of their family members or friends.
But he still volunteered to search through abandoned mines near Eureka when authorities suspected the teenagers had been killed and left inside a mine shaft.
“We were there, that was on our list,” Maclee said of the abandoned Tintic Standard No. 2 mine where the bodies were eventually found.
On Saturday night, he was among the teenagers’ family members and friends at a two-year anniversary vigil memorializing their disappearance.
“It’s good to keep the memory alive and let everyone know what’s going on,” he said.
More than 70 people gathered at the Eureka Memorial Building to eat dinner and hold a candlelit moment of silence in honor of the two teenagers.
“We’re all here to celebrate their lives,” said Amanda Hunt, Breezy’s aunt. “It’s too easy to forget. You remember what happened to them but there is a face to them. They were our loved ones.”
Many also received fabric red and pink roses that glowed softly with the candles, as well as red rubber bracelets with the phrase “faith hope love.” Pictures of the two smiling teenagers graced the walls and table near the serving area.
“It’s overwhelming to me to have such a full house,” Hunt said. “It gives us some solace and it gives us a purpose to keep it going.”
Afterward, the family also visited a small memorial site where mine owners moved a cement block from the mine alongside the fence as a memorial site.
“We don’t want the kids’ memories lost or forgotten,” said Bill Powell, Riley’s father. “We’re all family now.”
The two teenagers were dating before Jerrod Baum, 42, reportedly stabbed them and left their bodies in the abandoned mine.
Investigators believe he killed the teenagers out of jealousy that his ex-girlfriend, Morgan Henderson, had a male visitor in their house. She testified against him and shared many details about the deaths during a preliminary hearing earlier this year.
Otteson was remembered as someone who loved to dance, sing and Snapchat, and didn’t take anything too seriously. Powell was known for his big heart and desire to help all those around him.
“Out of tragedy we’re making something good of it. So that’s a plus,” Powell said.