Celebration of life held for Ebby Steppach

ebby crime lab.jpg

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- A celebration of life was held Saturday for Ebby Steppach, the teen whose remains were found at Chalamont Park Tuesday.

The teen had gone missing back in October of 2015, and now, two-and-a-half years later, her family breathes a sigh of relief.

It was a sea of purple at Ebby's celebration of life Saturday-- guests dressed in her favorite color, each with a purple iris in hand-- a favorite flower of the teen's. Ebby's family telling KATV they're grateful to the hundreds of members of the community who gathered to honor her life.

"As difficult as it is, we are rejoicing that Ebby is in heaven with Jesus," Michael Jernigan, Ebby's stepfather said.

What caps an end to a painful two-and-a-half years of uncertainty; Ebby has come home.

"This week as we found out the news that they had found her remains, we took a moment to step back, and reflect on the last two-and-a-half years as we prepared for today so that we could properly celebrate what Ebby's meant to all of us," Jernigan added.

The family, thanking Little Rock Police and their cold case squad, the FBI, and volunteer groups who looked for the teen when she first disappeared.

In the crowd Saturday, some members of law enforcement who worked Ebby's case, paying their respects to her life.

But there are still many questions left unanswered, Jernigan explains: "With [law enforcement's] efforts, they're going to come to a conclusion of what's happened and who caused her death."

Ebby's family, holding on to hope for the truth, but also seeing some good that comes out of the teen's tragic story.

"Through Ebby's situation and what we've been living through for two-and-a-half years, there have been efforts that have resulted in young women being rescued fro trafficking situations; and we're grateful," Jernigan said.

Ebby's family tells KATV they are thankful for everyone who had shared her story, but they request privacy to process as the Arkansas State Crime Lab works with evidence from Ebby's case to determine her cause of death.

In remembrance of Ebby, the family is asking people to contribute to Halos Investigation, the non-profit organization that led search efforts to find Ebby.

Little Rock Police says they're investigating Ebby's death as a homicide.

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