Families gather at Wasatch HS to honor foreign exchange student who died
HEBER — Dozens gathered Thursday night at Wasatch High School to pay their respects to a foreign exchange student who died unexpectedly last weekend.
“This is a hard night for all of us,” said Principal Tod Johnson, opening the vigil in which several classmates and friends offered up their thoughts and condolences over the sudden passing of 17-year-old Anica Juur, who came to Heber from Estonia.
Classmate Kenzie Koehle said Juur was “one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet.”
“She was always just kind of really welcoming and friendly to everyone,” Koehle said. “She was super full of life and super hopeful.”
Wasatch County Sheriff’s investigators said Juur was found unresponsive and not breathing at her host home on Sunday, after complaining of back and abdominal pain Saturday.
Chief Deputy Jared Rigby said Juur saw a doctor Saturday, who recommended she go to the emergency room for further treatment.
Juur declined to go, Rigby said, despite the encouragement of the doctor and her host family.
Rigby said it remained unclear Thursday what caused Juur’s death.
Koehle and her mother, Katri Koehle, set up a GoFundMe account to help Juur’s family with the expenses of returning the deceased teen to Estonia.
As of Thursday night, the account had raised more than $29,000.
Juur’s parents and siblings were present for the vigil.
“My heart breaks for them,” Katri Koehle said. “All of us—we’re just so heartbroken and sad and it’s just a small gesture, and hopefully her family will accept it with the love that it was gathered.”
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