Yashanee Vaughn Remembered
Friends and family gathered Saturday at the City Bible Church to remember and celebrate Yashanee Vaughn, the young girl who went missing four months ago after she was believed to be killed by her boyfriend.
Police recovered her body from Rocky Butte in northeast Portland two weeks ago. After long mourning the disappearance of their 14-year old daughter, Yashanee’s family finally had the chance to give her a proper memorial.
At the funeral, a group of girls danced and sang songs celebrating the friend they called “Bonnie B.”
Red ribbons adorned her family and clergy matching flower garlands that draped over Vaughn’s casket. Near a thousand people filled the church pews to celebrate Yashanee’s life and grieve for her family’s loss.
“I wasn’t going to stop until I found my baby, and I admit that,” her mother Shaquita Louis said. Vaughn’s family told the audience they never gave up looking for their daughter and thanked friends and supporters who help to keep her search in the public’s eye.
“She’s always going to be in everybody’s hearts,” Reynelda Hayes, Vaughn’s grandmother, told Fox 12. “I’m just going to remember her as a happy, bubbly carefree girl. I’m not going to forget her, ever.”
Former teachers remembered Vaughn as a social butterfly, always bonding with those around her. “Yashanee was easy to friend and love,” Ellon Manly remembered.
Elizabeth Jenson, the principal of Open Meadow Middle School where Vaughn attended, said, “I have never met anyone in 12 years of working with the students that I work with who had the determination and strength of will and mind, and nothing, nothing got in her way.”
In the thick of emotion honoring Vaughn’s life, community elders called to end violence in the Portland area, “When are we going to come together as a community and say ‘no longer can we stand for another young person dying on the side of the road, in somebody’s house, in somebody’s bedroom and buried on a hill.’
Church elder Elmer Yarbough continued, “No longer can we stand for violence in this community. No longer can we turn a blind eye to what’s going on in this community. We have to take a stand and say enough is enough.’”
Vaughn disappeared in mid-March, the same day Portland police say she was shot and killed by her boyfriend, Parrish Bennette Jr., 16. Bennette remains in jail, held without bail on murder and manslaughter charges.
Bennette gave information that lead investigators to the spot on Rocky Butte where Vaughn’s remains were left. As he awaits trial, Vaughn’s mother, said the funeral was “just the beginning of the closure, there’s still more to come,” Louis said.