NORTH OGDEN -- The gathering was solemn, yet filled with hope as groups of people crowded around to keep warm with candles in a vigil for missing teen Alexis Rasmussen at Barker Park on Tuesday night.
The amphitheater at the park was filled with many people holding lighted candles to demonstrate hope that Rasmussen is still alive and to comfort those seeking peace and solace.
Rasmussen was last seen Sept. 10 when she went on a baby-sitting job in her North Ogden neighborhood.
Friends and family organized the vigil to help unite the community of grieving teens and friends wondering where their friend is.
"There is an outcry, because the community is also hurting, and we need healing," said Rasmussen's uncle, Wade Reed, who helped organize the event.
"It is just incredible and amazing all the people that are here," he said.
Many of Rasmussen's classmates stood in clusters, talking about the 16-year-old and how they knew her.
Kadyn Edens and Rasmussen have had a couple of classes together. "We really became good friends in cooking," Edens said as he blew at his candle to keep the flame going. He said students talk about Rasmussen quite a bit at school. "A lot of people are destroyed and heartbroken," he said.
Emily Black is a childhood friend of Rasmussen. She lived near her when they were young, and Black recently moved back down the street from Rasmussen just before she disappeared.
"I knew Lexi since we were little, and I just felt like I should be here," Black said. Although she doesn't know her well now, she always has had special feelings for her childhood friend. She has noticed that rumors have been going around about where Rasmussen might be or what might have happened, but what she has noticed most is the concern for her safety. "There are pictures of her everywhere in the school," Black said.
Others came who did not know Rasmussen, but felt sorrow that she is missing.
Chelsea Neal's son attends Weber High School. She fought tears as she talked of the sadness she felt over a 16-year-old girl being missing. "I can't imagine what I would do if something ever happened to my child," she said. Because of that, Neal has tried to help by passing out flyers, sending emails and making Facebook posts to help find Rasmussen.
Throughout the vigil, family members and some friends spoke into a microphone about Rasmussen and thanked not only those who had come but also local businesses and friends who had donated time and money for the vigil.
"What an amazing city we have, to let all our differences aside and raise our lights," Dominique Sanders told the crowd. She encouraged everyone to raise their candles high. "We're here to lean on each other and bring her home," Sanders said.
As the song "Lean on Me" played in the background, the crowd swayed to the music and some came up to the amphitheater stage, showing the Alexis flyers attached to their candles.
For many in Rasmussen's family, the final plea is to send a message to Rasmussen.
"If she's out there, we want her to see this shining light and let her know she's not alone," Reed said. He and his wife are sure that seeing the community's support would bring her some happiness.
Rasmussen's aunt, Tammy Reed, told the crowd, "We miss Lexi, and we hope she can find the light to come home tonight."
A criminal investigation tied to Rasmussen's disappearance continues.
The case has no new developments "that I can comment on," Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said earlier Tuesday.
Police have arrested the couple for whom Rasmussen was baby-sitting the night before she was reported missing Sept. 10.
Eric and Dea Millerberg were arrested in the first week of this month on unrelated drug charges.
The Millerberg home was subsequently searched Oct. 9 by the Weber County homicide task force, a loose unit of detectives from around the county, called out on suspected homicides and supervised out of the county attorney's office.
A vigil was held last week by residents in front of a Salt Lake City television station to raise awareness of the case, announced on the Facebook page Bring Alexis Home.