NAPLES, Maine — A mother from Portland whose mysterious death remains under investigation in New Hampshire was remembered by friends and family on Monday as an energetic, strong-willed woman with a wide network of friends.
More than 300 people attended Monday’s funeral for 20-year-old Krista Dittmeyer at Lake Region High School in Naples where she graduated in 2008.
Kayla Dittmeyer choked back tears as she read a poem in her sister’s honor. “Who would have thought one young lady could have touched so many hearts?” she said afterward, giving thanks to supporters both locally and around the country.
The discovery of Dittmeyer’s car idling with its hazard lights on and her 14-month-old daughter unharmed inside early April 23 sparked an intensive search for her. The Portland waitress’ body was found last week in a pond near where her car was abandoned at a ski area in North Conway, N.H.
On Monday, her daughter Aliyah was in attendance at the funeral, along with Dittmeyer’s parents, her sister and friends. Behind the coffin was a large screen with Dittmeyer’s photo projected onto it in the school gymnasium.
Dittmeyer’s sister, several of Dittmeyer’s friend and the Rev. Don Mayberry said she was known as being feisty, independent and athletic. She played several sports, including basketball, tennis, track and softball. She tried dance and cheerleading.
She had a love of animals and thought of becoming a veterinarian one day, and had a nurturing side that came out when she became a mother, raising her daughter while working as a waitress, Mayberry said.
“She has been a presence among us who has brightened our lives,” Mayberry said.
Aliyah is now in the care of Dittmeyer’s mother, LaNell Shackley, in Bridgton. The toddler’s father is serving 18 months in prison in Maine for drug charges.
An investigation into Dittmeyer’s death continues in New Hampshire, where an autopsy last week failed to reach a definitive conclusion on the cause of her death.
Mayberry said friends and family are understandably brokenhearted and confused as they try to piece together the circumstances surrounding her death.
“Sadly, the healing will not be miraculous or quick,” he said.