Friends search for answers in woman's death

Published On: Feb 18 2013 07:14:51 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 19 2013 08:03:43 AM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

A group of Neala Frye's close friends gathered at the scene of the investigation Monday morning, one day after her body was discovered near the railroad tracks in Onalaska

They were looking for closure, but finding very little comfort.

All day at work on Saturday, 23-year-old Neala Frye was trying to coax her Menards co-worker and close friend Shane Blair into coming out with her that night.

She was going to Spillway Pub in Onalaska, working a promotional event for her other job with Body & Sol tanning, massage and yoga studio.

Blair got sick and couldn't make it.

"That was the last time I talked to her was at 10:30 at night. Nothing sounded wrong. She never hinted at anything. She just said, 'Take peppermint, it's good for your tummy,'" said Blair.

She was supposed to meet up with friends in downtown La Crosse around midnight, but never showed. When she didn't show up for work at Menards the next morning, Blair got worried.

He left work early to search for her. What he found worried him even more.

"The girl that Neala was with that night, they found her passed out next to her car. Neala's not with her," said Blair.

For hours, Frye's close friends waited anxiously at her house, hoping she would walk through the door.

Late Sunday night, they got the news no one wanted to hear.

"As soon as that moment hit, it's like the ground just fell out beneath you,” said Frye’s roommate, Tyler Zibrowski.

“We keep feeling like she's going to walk through the door and be like, 'Hey guys.' All last night, we were just waiting for her to walk through the front door,” said Frye’s close friend Tyler Smith.

With so many questions left unanswered, all they can do now is remember their good friend.

"We sat around all day telling jokes and remembering everything about Neala. Of course we feel terrible about everything, but we all loved her," said Zibrowski.

But Blair finds himself wondering what might have happened if he had come out with her that night.

"I miss her. And I wish I was at that bar with her. I'm sorry I didn't come over,” said Blair as tears welled in his eyes.

With her quirky sense of humor, friends said she was known for playing pranks one minute and cheering up a sad friend the next.

Frye was a student at UW-La Crosse and on the executive board of the American Marketing Association.

She was originally from Evansville, Wis.