SPRINGFIELD, Ore. --- Abigael Bellows' parents are speaking out after a woman's body believed to be their daughters was recovered in the Willamette River.
Her mother spoke with KEZI 9 News Sunday about the legacy her daughter leaves and the light she was to everyone.
“Abigael has touched so many lives, and it's really unfortunate that it took a tragedy of this magnitude for everyone to get a sense of how beloved she was,” Abigael’s mother Tressa Bellows said.
When her parents recieved the news on Friday, they felt a sense of relief but also pain that Tressa said no parent should have to bear.
“We had been so desperate in seeking her," Tressa said. "We both already had a sense that she was at peace. We couldn't be at peace without being able to take care of her from here on out. There was both a sense of relief and a gratitude that our prayers were answered."
Tressa said her family witnessed a special moment minutes after they received the call.
“We walked outside to catch our breath and to get a little bit of fresh air,” Tressa said. “We were standing there in silence and a deer came down and stopped and stared at us and then kept going. Then a few minutes later, a baby dear came down the same path and stopped and stared at us. It was so beautiful. It was so moving.”
She said they are incredibly grateful for everyone who has stood by their family throughout this time, many who worked off-the-clock to help search for Abigael. They want to thank their family members, the Lane County Sheriff's Department, Search and Rescue Marine Patrol, the Fire Department, the community of Eugene and many others who have offered their support during this time.
“It was because of our begging that someone found her,” Tressa said. “It was somebody searching for her at our request.”
Tressa shared a beautiful experience she shared with Abigael after she finished her second year at Duquesne University.
“She needed to spread her wings,” Tressa said. “She decided to travel solo to Costa Rica. She travelled there to teach English in a little Costa Rican school in Manuel Antonio and I took her to the airport and I’m filled with anxiety and concern and worry because it’s my little girl and she was headed off alone to another country where she didn't know a single soul.
But Abigael’s adventurous spirit was full of joy and anticipation for what was to come.
“She was so full of joy, and she was so ready for that adventure. There wasn't an ounce of trepidation or anxiety in her as she embarked for that journey. That's where life changed for her. She knew the journey was what she needed. That's how she adventured, and that's how she lived life. I believe that that’s how she got brought to where she is now. She's just in the next phase of her journey."
Tressa said there is something she would like everyone should keep in mind.
“The one thing I would really just like to remind people, because it reminded to us as we’ve been going through this, is to be kind to one another,” Tressa said. “You never know the pain or the anguish that somebody might be going through.”
The Bellows Family is in communication with Hendricks Park and Clearwater Park to create a special spot where Abigael will be memorialized.