Friends of a young woman who was found dead in a nature preserve in Huntington gathered Friday night to mourn her loss and remember her life.
About 40 people, mostly young themselves, gathered in the parking lot of St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church to light candles in memory of Sarah Strobel, 23. She was found dead Thursday morning off a trail in the Froehlich Farms Nature Preserve on West Rogues Path.
Suffolk police deemed her death suspicious.
Three Suffolk County detectives arrived as the informal service got underway and the Rev. Frank Nelson, pastor of the church, joined the group to lead them in prayer.
Rebecca J. Stander, who helped organize the gathering, said she had known Strobel since the two were 8 years old. Through tears, she described her friend as energetic and adventurous, a devotee of Fruity Pebbles cereal and someone who, "if she had been musically inclined, she would have been a rock star."
She said Strobel had studied to be a massage therapist and was "very holistic, very spiritual" but was estranged from her family because of her drug use. "No one supported her," Stander said.
Another friend, Taylor Freedman, said, "This is not okay, for someone so young, our peer, to be gone. I believe justice will be served and she'd want us all to be happy."
Another friend said Strobel never would have gone into the woods by herself.
And Ashleigh Walker said she had worked in a restaurant with her and that other workers knew her to be a positive and very welcoming person. "It was, 'Sarah's here, things are better'," she said.