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Celina Cass Day

West Stewartstown, New Hampshire - August 6, 2011

The North Country Community Band lead the 35th Annual Stewartstown Day Celebration Parade. But this year's annual summer fair was more than just fun and games. It was a chance to honor 11 year old Celina Cass. She was found dead in the Connecticut River earlier this week.

"We miss her, and love her, this day is about her too," said family friend Lisa Harding. 

The fair was dedicated to Celina. The band marched to an upbeat tune for most of the parade - but honored the little girl as they passed by her home.

There was also a float in memory of Celina. Her mother fought back tears as she rode on it. Her sister Kayla and some of Celina's friends decked themselves out in fancy outfits.

"It was one of Celina's favorite things to do, was dress up. They wanted to honor Celina's memory by dressing up," said family friend Debbie Whelan.

The town considered cancelling the annual summer fair, but decided against it to help the community mourn together and move forward.

"I think the kids needed it. Celina was a big part of the community. She was in my son's class, my daughter knew her quite well. I think they needed closure," said West Stewartstown resident Sally Biron.

"It's a way of saying thanks and we all want remember Celina, everyday we will remember Celina, she will never ever be forgotten," said Whelan.

The missing person posters have been taken down, the hundreds of investigators have packed up and left, but there is one message that remains strong in the community of less than a thousand people.

"We love you Celina," chanted her friends.

A memorial has been setup where Celina Cass was found dead in the Connecticut River. A cross, flowers and candles mark the spot along the river. 

The medical examiner has not made an official ruling on the little girl's death, but investigators say it is suspicious. Prosecutors won't comment on any potential suspects and say they don't expect to make any major announcements about the case over the next few days.

Matt Henson - WCAX News

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