Hundreds hold vigil for Clark hours after body found in bay

Hundreds hold vigil for Clark hours after body found in bay »Play Video
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- "DWIGHT we will never forget."

That was the message written in chalk and shared by hundreds who attended a vigil in the honor of Dwight Clark whose body is believed to have been found.

Police spokesman Mark Young said a Port of Bellingham worker found the body about 11 a.m. near the old Georgia Pacific plant in area known as the "lagoon." A driver's license belonging to the missing Western Washington University student was found on the body.

Investigators said the medical examiner has not confirmed the identity of the body, which appears to have been in the water for several days, but added they "assume" the body is that of Clark as they've not found anything that indicates otherwise.

A confirmation is not expected until Thursday, and investigators said they couldn't tell whether the body had any signs of injuries.

"(With) someone who's been in the water for this period of time, you just can't tell from a glance," Young said. "

Just hours after police made the grim announcement, a somber crowd assembled in Red Square to remember the teen whose disappearance had distressed many in the community. (View photos >>>)

"Dwight was a kind, sensitive person who is now safe with his father and grandmother," said family friend Penni Saum. "The family will continue to search for who's responsible, and we ask for your support during this difficult time, and your sensitivity and your privacy for Raelyn and her family."

Even though the body has not yet been positively identified, some who've anxiously been awaiting news about Clark said they've prepared themselves for the worst.

"When they pulled someone up today - although we were shocked, (we were) not surprised," said Saum.

"As a mother, I would want to know where my son was. And at least she knows and she can go through the grieving process," said mourner Kristina Nelson. "It's just really heartbreaking, especially when it happens in your community."

Clark was last seen leaving a party near the Western Washington University campus at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Sept. 26. Officials said the Auburn teenager was headed back to his dorm room, but he never made it.

Clark's cell phone sent a blank text message about 40 minutes later, and investigators tracked the location from which the message was sent to downtown Bellingham.

Friends, family and fellow students spent the last week searching for Clark, and a Facebook page with thousands of fans had been providing updates and helping coordinate search efforts.

Clark was an honors student from Auburn High School and had just moved to Bellingham to start his freshman year at college when he disappeared.