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Memorial honors Chairo Garibay; Case unsolved

A lot has changed since Chairo Garibay Ferreyra, 20, was last seen alive seven years ago.

Chairo's closest friend is now married with a child of her own. And her little sister, Marisol Castillo, has blossomed into a teenager. She celebrated her quinceanera last year — the customary rite of passage for a girl into womanhood.

On Tuesday evening, the Rev. Juan Perez spoke to the Spanish-speaking community at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marysville.

"The best way to remember your daughter is through forgiveness," Perez said in Spanish to more than 150 parishioners who had come to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Marysville for the special memorial.

Chairo had been at her family's home in Olivehurst preparing to leave for church on Dec. 11, 2005, but she never arrived there.

Her murdered body was found more than a month later in a drainage ditch north of Plumas-Arboga Road.

Her killer has never been found.

"How fragile is this life," Perez said, during his homily.

Perez said that in the absence of any news about the murder case, and the persistence of grief for Chairo's loved ones, he has tried to encourage acceptance, and forgiveness toward her as-yet unknown killer.

"If I keep in my heart vengeance for my enemy, it's difficult for me to get peace in my life," he said in English after the service. "The way of Jesus was always forgiving, and that is the best way."

Perez has presided over Spanish language services here on and off since 1998. At the time of Chairo's death, he had been recently assigned to a church in Woodland.

But during his earlier stint at St. Joseph, he knew Chairo as a friendly, vibrant child, and an active member of the church's Spanish-speaking youth group. Perez officiated religious services for her quinceanera at St. Joseph.

"She was lovely and happy — very friendly, very popular," Perez said.

Marisol Castillo, 16, said she has a strong sensory memory of sitting on her sister's lap at her brother's soccer game, and of Chairo teasing her affectionately for being skinny.

"It's rough every year at this time," she said. "If she was here, I could talk to her more now that I'm older."

"We talked every day," said Chairo's friend, Ashley Barboza, 25.

"We talked about getting married and having children. I have a little boy now, and I know she would have had a kid by now, too."

During Tuesday's service, Chairo's mom, Magdalena Ferreyra, sang with the choir, as she usually does. Her husband and son assisted with church preparations, as always.

Photos of Chairo were displayed where all could see, and the mood was somber and reflective.

"She never judged nobody," Perez said of his long-missing congregant. "She was a special kind of person."

CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at npasternack@appealdemocrat.com or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.


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