Wisconsin News

Candlelight vigil held for deceased UW-L student

ONALASKA, Wis. - A candlelight vigil was held Monday night for the 23-year-old La Crosse woman found dead near the Black River spillway in Onalaska.

Police found Neala Frye's body at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday in a ditch near the Black River spillway Onalaska. It's a marshy area near the end of Irvin Street.

The vigil was held outside of Body & Sol in Onalaska, one of the places Frye worked. Friends shared stories about her infectious personality.

"Some of my favorite memories are just doing the most random dances with her," said Rachel Unseth.

"One is called the 'bernie' and we would just 'bernie' wherever we were. Her personality was so contagious. She was one of the best people I ever met," she added.

Organizers say the vigil was not about trying to find answers, but rather remembering someone they all loved so much.

"She just had a way of changing people's lives. She can touch people and not even know it," said Jenelle Drake, a high school friend.

Frye was a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse student. UW-L Vice Chancellor Paula Knudson sent an email to students and staff Monday morning letting them know about the recent tragedy.


Here is the email Knudson sent to UW-L students and staff:

"Dear UW-L Community,

It saddens me to again notify you about the tragic loss of one of our students, Neala Frye. Neala went missing Saturday evening. Her friends became concerned and started searching for her. Unfortunately her body was found last night and she is no longer physically with us. We are meeting with the Marketing faculty later this morning, yet I can already tell that this beautiful young woman made a positive impact on our community. Her adviser Dr. Stephen Brokaw described her as vivacious and an all around good citizen and student. Neala was on the executive board of the American Marketing Association and was actively engaged with the organization and our community. My heart aches as I think about her family and friends. We will continue to reach out to those closest to Neala to support them and will let you know as we have more information about her services. Please keep Neala, her family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers. In peace, Paula"

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