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Thousands Gather To Mourn Chelsea King

Photo by Susan Murphy / KPBS

Above: Mourners hold up candles in memory of 17-year-old Chelsea King during a vigil at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Poway on March 2, 2010.

— Thousands of mourners gathered at a Poway church Tuesday night for a somber candlelight vigil and procession in memory of 17-year-old Chelsea King, just hours after a body, believed to be King’s, was discovered in Lake Hodges.

Chelsea’s father, Brent King, held back tears as he addressed the crowd and thanked them for their love and support. “One of the nicknames that I’ve always called my Chelsea is 'my angel' – she’s my angel forever,” he said, with his grieving wife, Kelly by his side. “I want to thank everybody in this community, everybody that's touched our hearts. Everybody who's heart was touched by Chelsea, everybody who helped in the search. Everybody that's going to help us in our healing. Keep her spirit alive for us,” he said.

Following the tributes, Chelsea’s friends, family and community members held up their candles and walked silently from St. Michael's Catholic Church down Pomerado Road.

Chelsea's friends from Poway High School had planned the vigil ceremony days ago to be a time of hope and prayer for the safe return of their friend, but instead it was a time of grief and despair. "We all love and miss her, said Sarah Westood. "It's just really sad."

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