Soon after Alaska State Troopers announced they had likely found the remains of David Grunwald near Knik River Road, a vigil to remember the Palmer teen was organized on Facebook.


Saturday evening, nearly 200 people gathered at the Palmer Train Depot to share stories of Grunwald. Many of them were his classmates from Mat-Su Career and Technical High School.


“David was the person who you could always go to if you needed a good joke or needed to be cheered up,” said his friend, Erika Naulty. “He’d make you feel better without trying very hard.”


The crowd sang songs together and spoke about their favorite memories with Grunwald. Several teachers addressed the crowd. Also in attendance was Victoria Mokelke, Grunwald’s girlfriend. She shared words along with her father, who said Grunwald asked for permission to date Victoria.


“He was such a good young man from such a good family,” said Adam Mokelke. “I know he’s in a better place and I can’t thank his community enough for the support they’ve given for his family.”


During the three-week-long search, many people who looked for Grunwald never met him. Strangers also gathered at the vigil to support their community.


“We just wanted to make sure that his parents knew that the community was with them,” said Sheri Musgrave.


Grunwald’s immediate family did not attend the vigil. They have set up a P.O. box to receive condolences at: P.O. Box 896 Palmer, Alaska 99645.


KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.