A month later, kids gather to remember Celina Cass

Posted Aug. 26, 2011, at 9:31 p.m.

STEWARTSTOWN, N.H. — A month to the day when Celina Cass vanished from her rural New Hampshire home, friends of the 11-year-old gathered tonight to launch balloons and place fresh flowers at the dam where divers found her body after an exhaustive search through the North Country.

Their quiet tribute served as a means of grieving — particularly for a handful of young friends who felt a public memorial weeks ago was too soon — and allowed them to keep Celina’s memory in the public’s mind at a time when word of developments in the criminal investigation has waned.

“I can’t let the story go without answers,” said Stewartstown mom Debbie Baglio, who helped organize tonight’s gathering. “I can’t let this little girl go.”

Investigators are awaiting results of toxicology tests and are responding to a score of new tips that followed the announcement of a reward of more than $30,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who may have been responsible for Celina’s death. Investigators have called her death suspicious, but the medical examiner has not ruled it a homicide.

Cass disappeared July 25 from her family’s home on U.S. Route 3, Stewartstown’s main drag. An intense search followed, with droves of investigators from state and federal agencies conducting a weeklong hunt for the little girl in local waterways and fields. They found Celina’s body Aug. 1 in the Connecticut River, about a quarter-mile from her home.

About a dozen of Celina’s schoolmates and nearly as many adults joined in today’s remembrance, timed to come just as the children are preparing to return to school without her.

“It was time that the kids were able to do that,” Baglio said. “That’s their friend, and they don’t want to forget what happened to her.”

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