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Vigil to be held for woman found dead near West Valley street

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SALT LAKE CITY — Whitney Bodell said Hope Gabaldon would "light up a room."

"Everything about her, she was such a genuine soul and such a free soul," Bodell said Saturday, grieving the loss of her girlfriend of one year.

Gabaldon, 21, died Thursday night after being found on the side of a West Valley City street with deadly injuries — a case police are investigating as a homicide.

"She's so loving and she cared about everybody," Bodell said. "She put everybody before herself. She didn't deserve to die ... or to be suffering on the side of the street alone."

Gabaldon's loved ones plan to gather at Liberty Park at 5 p.m. Sunday to celebrate her life during a candlelight vigil.

"She loved it here," Bodell said, looking out across Liberty Park's pond. "We would just come here and hang out for hours just because it's surrounded by trees and you can see the mountains. She would love it."

Bodell wore a necklace around her neck, one that she said Gabaldon had given to her just last month to celebrate their first anniversary.

"She had gotten me this necklace and said, 'Whenever you miss me or I'm not here, just hold onto it and always remember me,'" Bodell said.

The last time Bodell heard from Gabaldon was a text message at 5:14 p.m. Thursday that read, "I promise I'll see you today."

Bodell said when she found out what happened, "I just lost it. I just bawled."

"Whoever left her bloody on the side of the street, it's ruthless and it's disgusting," she said. "She didn't deserve that."

Gabaldon's silver 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee still hasn't been found, police said Saturday. The vehicle has Utah license plate No. W663BR.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 801-840-4000.

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Katie McKellar


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