Those close to Evans recall the 28-year-old's work as a community organizer as they try to cope with news of her death.

During a March 28 memorial for Amber Evans, friend Stacey Little recalled that Storm, the weather-controlling heart of comic book collective the X-Men, was Evans’ favorite fictional character. “And ever since she’s gone it’s been a cloud, a bad cloud,” Little said of Evans, who went missing on Jan. 28.

But the memorial gathering, held Downtown near the intersection of Belle Street and Washington Boulevard where Evans first disappeared, and less than a week after her body was recovered from the Scioto River on March 23, took place beneath sunny skies. A rainbow even revealed itself to the hundreds who gathered to celebrate Evans’ life and mourn her loss.

Two weeks earlier, a quarter mile downriver from where the community joined in remembrance, the scene was comparatively bleak. A search for Evans had been organized and then called off at the last minute, and only two people turned up at Genoa Park on a chilly, sunless day; one person carried a box of “MISSING” flyers intended for distribution at nearby businesses and homeless shelters. The flyers were dotted with a half-dozen smiling photos of Evans, along with a description of what she had been wearing when last seen (a white parka and black leggings). Nearby, the concrete steps leading down to the Scioto were chained off with a sign that read: “Area closed due to unsafe conditions.”

At the time, little information had been made public in the weeks since Evans’ disappearance, and in the absence of news, rumors rushed in to fill the space, with speculators taking to social media to blame everyone from the police, whom Evans often criticized in her role as a social justice activist, to boyfriend Mark Condo, who was among the last to see Evans alive, and who has had to deal with additional public scrutiny after an initial police statement said Evans disappeared following a “domestic dispute.” CPD has since said there is no reason to suspect foul play, and an autopsy report on Evans is pending.

Continue reading Andy Downing's story on Amber Evans at Columbus Alive.