GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of a slain Oshtemo Township woman held a vigil on Friday night in honor of the one-year anniversary of her death.
Ashley Young, 31, was killed in 2018. She was last seen with Jared Chance at a hookah bar in Grand Rapids. Investigators found portions of her dismembered body in Chance’s basement days later.
“Nov. 19, 2019, was the last time I saw Ashley and I got a hug from her and heard the words ‘I love you.’ I didn’t know 10 days later she would be dead,” said Kristine Young, Ashely’s mom.
Chance was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in October. There are still portions of Young’s body that are still missing.
“I know everyone deals with a loss,” said Dana Nelson about the grief of losing her stepdaughter. “I can explain away my mother’s death because of her age or if she was in a car accident or had an illness, but this you can’t. You can’t explain it away.”
The family says while they believe they will never be able to fully heal from what happened, they could have a bit more peace if investigators were able to find and return the rest of Ashley’s remains.
“You literally learn to put up that wall and go day by day and just pray that you get through,” said a tearful Kristine Young.
On Friday night, Young’s family sang, prayed and cried in her memory. Several dozen stood in the Young family’s front yard with candles in hand, looking at a black and white photo of Young.
“Her smile was always so beautiful, and her heart was always so giving,” said Kristine Young to the crowd in her yard. “And I know she would not want us to cry and to mourn her. She would want us to live, but it’s really hard to move on.”
They say through it all, they have been able to lean on family and friends. They say their goal was to send a message to Young that she is loved and to remind grieving family they are not alone.
The Young family asked all who attended the vigil to do an act of kindness in honor of Ashley’s life.