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‘The light of our lives’: Loved ones remember woman found dead in river

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BEDFORD, Ohio -- People who knew and loved Hillary Sharma mourned together Sunday night, honoring her memory.

The Eastlake woman disappeared in mid-August, and her body was found in the Cuyahoga River on Thursday.

Dozens of people went to Bedford Public Square holding candles and saying kind words about Sharma.

Friends tell Fox 8 she worked she worked in Bedford.

Many still can't believe she's gone. Sunday night, loved ones spent time remembering a talented, energetic person.

"She was the light of our life. She was always cheerful and outgoing -- loved art, music, anything," said Sharma's adoptive mom, Corrine Dawe.

"I'm not sure what happened to her -- there are so many things going through my head and at this point, I'm just waiting for answers and praying for the best," said Shannon Bartlett, a dear friend of Sharma's.

The loss of Sharma is painful.

"It's just so sad to see her go at such an early age," said Oscar Garcia, a family friend.

Investigators believe Sharma went to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to take pictures when she went missing.

Authorities searched for her, finding a car and other personal items. After several days, park rangers were looking for Sharma along the river bank near Brecksville and Sagamore Hills -- they found a body August 28.

Authorities confirmed it was Sharma.

"Our sympathies to the family and friends who just lost their sweet girl," said Stan Koci, Bedford's mayor.

On Sunday, the group said everyone should remember Hillary for how she lived, not how she died. She was a lover of photography and people.

"She loved everyone; she would walk up to anybody and say hi or give anyone a helping hand or whatever it was she did," Dawe said.

"Hillary, I just want to say I hope you're looking down in amazement, and I love you so much and you'll always be in my thoughts and you always be in my mind," Bartlett said.

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