BEND, OR -- Family and friends of Kaylee Sawyer are understandably heartbroken over the news of her death. But, they say they're touched by the outpouring of community support over the last few days. The 23-year-old Bend woman was reported missing Sunday and investigators say she is likely the victim of homicide. Edwin Lara was arrested in Northern California after a string of alleged crimes, and is expected to be charged with Sawyer's murder.
Kevin Sawyer is Kaylee's great uncle. He tells KBND News the kindness of the more than 250 volunteers who helped search for her on Tuesday did not go unnoticed. "We're very grateful for the community that's come out. There's been many, many people who don't know the family - don't know any of us - and they have come out. And, it shows what Bend is about; what this community is about. That we do support each other."
Kaylee's mother Julie Vanclieve spoke with KBND News before news broke of her death. "We have had so many people from this community reach out to us and we've been able to respond to quite a few. But, to the ones we haven't been able to respond to: We have seen every single message, and we appreciate everyone's time and how much people care," said Vanclieve. "I'm just so thankful that I live in the city of Bend."
George Livesay knows the family and helped in Tuesday's search effort. "She was a beautiful young lady who had everything in life to live for. It's such a travesty by somebody who just did something that was totally unconscionable and he will pay the price."
A Tuesday evening vigil at NorthWest Crossing's Discovery Park brought out nearly 200 people in support of Kaylee's family. Kevin Sawyer says she was a beautiful young lady who will be missed very much.
Photo: Released by Kaylee's family at Tuesday's press conference.