Lynsie Ekelund Remembered at Moving Service

Almost two months after  Los Angeles County Coroner's officials removed the bones of missing Fullerton College student Lynsie Ekelund from a shallow grave in Santa Clarita, a memorial service was held today for the 20-year-old Placentia woman. 

Ekelund left her mother's Placentia home one evening in 2001 with a man named Christopher McAmis, ostensibly for a night of clubbing in San Diego.

It was the last time anyone saw her alive.


Photos by Brandon Ferguson
A memorial service for Lynsie Ekelund was held at Placentia Presbyterian Church.

Faced with new evidence discovered by investigators from the Orange
County District Attorney's office, McAmis confessed to strangling
Ekelund that night and burying her corpse at a construction site he was
working with his father, Richard. 

Refrigerator magnet photos of Ekelund were offered.

More than
100 people packed into the Placentia Presbyterian Church on North Bradford Avenue.
Pastor F. David Throop led the service from a small podium in front of a
towering rock altar flanked by a large portrait of Ekelund from her
days as an El Dorado High School student. Throop shared fond memories
of Lynsie and described her as a girl with a smile “that could melt an

During the nearly hour-and-a half
memorial, others shared  stories of the young girl, describing her as an
animal lover with a kind, adventurous spirit. 
friend Kimberly Keith, who met Ekelund while working as a noon
supervisor at Friends Christian School in Yorba Linda, stood in front of
the congregation and recalled a time when during her days as a noon
supervisor at the private elementary school, she had forgotten to bring a
sweater. She shivered  in the cold as she watched the students during
lunch. Suddenly, she felt two small hands reach around from behind and
drape her shoulders in a tiny sweater. It was Lynsie. Keith broke down
when and recalled Lynsie saying, “I can't stand to sit here and watch
you shiver like this.” 
Though there were no
direct references to McAmis during the service, when Lynsie's mother
Nancy spoke, she mentioned that only one person knew what happened to
Lynsie for all these years and added quietly, “he isn't here.”
service ended with a slide show featuring family photos of Ekelund at
various stages in her life. The stream of images, featuring an
ever-smiling Ekelund, were punctuated by the occasional photos of her
lying unconscious in a hospital bed and hooked to tubes following a
severe car accident when she was five. Quiet sobbing could be heard in the hall during the moving display.

uniformed officers from the Placentia Police Department sat in the
front of the hall. Among them was Det. Corinne Loomis, who did much of the leg
work in the nearly decade-long investigation, as well as Police Chief
James L. Anderson. In the loft above the room, several television
cameras were perched on the edge of the wooden railing capturing the
entire event.


Family and friends of Lynsie Ekelund gather outside the hall.

As family, friends and well
wishers gathered with Nancy in the courtyard outside the church,  two
women who had known Lynsie in high school described their friend as a
naive person who trusted too easily. 

looked at the world as a 5-year-old girl,” said Robyn McRoy, 32. “It
was out there for her to experience.” She and her sister, 30-year-old
Krisitn Highfill, remembered occasionally meeting Ekelund at a coffee
shop to find her chatting with strangers. But both remembered their
friend as a girl brimming with compassion. Highfill explained Ekelund
would obsessively donate blood to Placentia-Linda Hospital near her
home. “She did it like it was a morning cup of coffee,” Highfill said of Ekelund. 
time, Ekelund successfully convinced Highfill  to join her in giving
blood. Highfill recalled her diminutive friend, who was several pounds
short of what the hospital required of blood donors, donning a large
jacket filled with weights. Highfill passed out after giving blood that day. “And when I woke up
surrounded by all the hospital people and the smelling salts,” she recalled, “Lynsie was
holding my hand.”
Following the service,
Ekelund's mother provided those in attendace with hundreds of
refrigerator magnets embossed with images of her daughter as well as
hand-made lollipops adorned with small tags which read, “When someone
you love becomes a memory. Then the memory becomes a treasure.”

to LA County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter, Ekelund's remains have
been released to the family. However, internment is planned for a later
date and will be private.

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