By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The body of Daphne Alexander-Christ, a mother of two who once lived in Port Townsend and visited her mother and friends there often, was discovered April 24 in the Columbia River near Vancouver, Wash., after a long search.
“She was a very kind, loving girl,” said her sister, Diane Belmont, a caregiver in Port Angeles.
“When she walked into a room, her smile would light the whole place, and everyone who was her friend felt a lot of love.”
Michelle Lorand of Port Townsend posted on Facebook: “My heart goes out to her kids and family. Her Port Townsend friends and family are here for them if they need us.
“She moved and graduated somewhere else but will always be a member of PTHS class of 1987.”
Alexander-Christ's mother, Alice Albert — who has lived in Port Townsend for 45 years — wants to scatter her daughter's ashes at Chetzemoka Park, she said Friday.
Services are pending. For more information, phone Belmont at 360-775-4584 after Thursday.
The body of Alexander-Christ, who worked in special-education classrooms as a staff assistant at Lake Shore Elementary School in Vancouver, was discovered by a hiker in Beacon Rock State Park earlier this month after a search that began in early March.
The hiker reported it to Skamania County authorities.
She was identified by the Clark County Medical Examiner's Office, according to The Columbian newspaper of Vancouver.
A ruling will be made on the cause of death after the Clark County office files its report, said Adam Kick, Skamania County prosecuting attorney and coroner.
“I have not made a ruling and won't make a ruling until after we receive the ME's report,” Kick said Friday.
Although no official cause of death has been issued, Belmont and Albert fear the death was no an accident.
“The reason that it took so long to find her body is because she put so many weights into her backpack so she wouldn't float up,” Belmont said.
“She was having some very difficult times. She had a bipolar condition and wasn't taking her medication.”
In the weeks preceding her death, Alexander-Christ had previously described aspects of her life as “hopeless,” Belmont and Albert said.
Alexander-Christ had a deep connection with Port Townsend, her sister and mother said, and visited often.
“I freaking love this place, it's so different when I was born and raised here,” Alexander-Christ wrote in a August 2012 Facebook post about Port Townsend.
“I wanted out so bad, now I want back so bad.”
Alexander-Christ was born at Jefferson Hospital on July 11, 1969, and lived in Port Townsend until her high school years when she moved to California but still returned often, Belmont said.
The reaction to Alexander-Christ's disappearance was overwhelming, Belmont said.
Deputies had told her they had never seen such a great response, she added.
“They told me that their phone was ringing off the hook with offers to help,” Belmont said.
Alexander-Christ had left her home at about noon March 7. When she didn't answer her phone, a missing-person report was filed the next day.
On March 9, the Skamania County Sheriff's Office found her black Suzuki Forenza in the parking lot of Beacon Rock State Park with a ticket on it because it had been left overnight, according to The Columbian.
A Facebook page was placed online March 12 that provided news of the search and included tributes to her.
Alexander-Christ was preceded in death by her father, Robert.
In addition to Albert and Belmont, Alexander-Christ is survived by her husband, Sean Christ of Vancouver; two children, Keaton Alexander and Savanna Christ of Vancouver; sister Desiree Alexander of California; and three brothers, Dana (Karin) Belmont of Chimacum, Danny (Alethia) Albert of Salinas and David Belmont of Kansas.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.