JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — To many, Mariah Casiano was more than just a student at JSU and the turnout at Monday evening’s vigil in honor of her was a testament to that.

“It’s so beautiful to find someone like her. I hope everyone finds a Mariah in their life,” said Isaak Zuniga, a close friend of Mariah.

Kind, warm and caring are three words those who knew, and loved, Mariah used to describe her.

“Every time I would see her she’d light up and I’d light up and just give a big hug and it could be while she’s in the middle of work, while I’m rushing to class, or in-between classes. She’d always just find that time to say ‘Hi,'” said Sarah Packard, a close friend of Mariah.

During the vigil friends and professors lit candles and took turns sharing memories of Mariah.

“In a world that can be filled with darkness it is important to have that light, and Mariah was that light,” said Skylar Leeth, a close friend of Mariah.

Her friends said Mariah majored in psychology and she had plans to become a counselor, helping others going through mental struggles.

“Mental health is a huge thing. It’s severely underfunded in our community; it’s severely underfunded especially in our state and I’m just a huge advocate for checking up. A simple ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ But if someone asks how you’re doing don’t just say I’m fine let them
know,” said Zuniga.

A cause of death has not been released at this time.

Mariah’s family and close friends ask for prayers as they grieve their loss.

Mariah’s funeral service is set for Saturday at 3 p.m.