The body of a missing Ohio activist has been found months after her disappearance.
Columbus police confirmed that a body recovered from the Scioto River on Saturday has been identified as community activist Amber Evans, who had been missing since Jan. 28. Authorities found Evans’ abandoned vehicle in the Scioto Mile area downtown shortly after her disappearance, while her cellphone was discovered in another part of town.
Columbus police have since notified the woman’s family.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we understand this brings closure for the family,” the department said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.”
The 28-year-old was reported missing after police said she got into an argument with her boyfriend. However, authorities have also said there weren’t any known domestic violence issues in Evans’ relationship and that they had no reason to suspect foul play, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
At the time, police considered her a “distraught high-risk missing person.”
The Columbus police’s Special Victims Bureau and Dive Team recovered the body Saturday morning near the Whittier Street Peninsula. Cmdr. Alex Behnen said authorities conducted a similar search of the area in the days following Evans’ disappearance, utilizing everything from canine units to drones with infrared technology, but the weather and water levels hampered their efforts.
Grief-stricken reactions flooded social media Sunday as news spread of the young woman’s discovery. According to local station WSYX, Evans was a well-known activist and organizer who worked with countless social justice groups across the city. The Ohio State University and Kent State University grad also served as executive director for the Juvenile Justice Coalition in Columbus.
Showing Up for Racial Justice, another group Evan’s worked with, reacted to news of the young woman’s death and said its members were at a “loss for words.”
“Anyone who knew Amber knows that she was extremely disciplined and dedicated to struggling for a better world,” said Tynan Krakoff, the group’s lead organizer. “She treated everyone with dignity and when you spoke, it always felt like she truly was listening. She was a fighter and we will continue her legacy.”
He continued: “We’ve organized very closely with Amber and People’s Justice Project the past three years fighting for justice for countless victims of police brutality. We will honor Amber’s legacy by continuing to fight for a world where Black lives matter and fight for a Columbus for all.”
Evans’ mother, Tonya Fischer, who made public pleas for her daughter’ safe return, also took to social media to ask for privacy and quiet during the family’s time of mourning.
“I’m coming on here as a mother … who has just found out that I lost my first-born child,” Fischer said on an emotional video on Facebook Live. “I love you all, and you all know I’m more than willing to accept all that you have to give… but just give me a moment. Just a moment. Give my family a moment.”
Evans’ grieving mother said the family plans to hold a memorial vigil Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
Many took to social media to remember the beloved activist and send their condolences.
“Incredibly sad news for the family, friends, and all those that loved and cared for
#AmberEvans,” one Twitter user wrote. “My thoughts are will everyone that continues to grieve today.”
The Women’s March organization also tweeted: “This is devastating.
#AmberEvans was a beautiful person and powerful activist. To our sisters at @OhioWomensMarch who organized with Amber, and to her entire family and community: we are thinking of you all.”
“So grateful to have shared time and space with this incredible human being,” author Treva B. Lindsey wrote. “Her effervescence always made me smile when I saw and spoke with her.
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