The body of a young woman recovered from the Scioto River in Ohio on Saturday has been identified as 28-year-old community activist Amber Evans by Columbus Police. She had been missing since Jan. 28.
Columbus Police released the news on Sunday, sharing a statement on Twitter. Evans’ body was found by Columbus Police Special Victims Bureau and the Columbus Police Dive team.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we understand this brings closure for the family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” wrote Columbus PD.
Evans was a well-known community activist in the city, working with a variety of social justice organizations. Since 2015, she had worked with Juvenile Justice Coalition; she was promoted to executive director weeks before her disappearance. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Evans played a key role in organizing protests at Columbus City Hall; she was also “heavily involved” with the People’s Justice Project, a nonprofit dedicated to organizing working people and people of color across Columbus.
She was reported missing in late January, following a domestic dispute with her boyfriend of 10 years, police say. According to NBC News, Amber went to work the morning of Jan. 28; she left following a 5:30 p.m. meeting after telling her coworkers she wasn’t feeling well. She was last seen in security footage at a local store, where she bought cold medicine and a Snickers bar.
Police found Evans’ abandoned car later that evening in the Scioto Mile area in Downtown Columbus with her purse in the trunk; her phone was found on another part of the Scioto Mile the next day.
Columbus Police Department Public Information Officer Denise Alex-Bouzounis told NBC News Evans’ boyfriend had cooperated with investigators. Police considered Evans’ case to be that of a “distraught missing person.”
“Police have said since the beginning of the investigation that there were no known domestic violence issues in Evans’ relationship and there was no reason to suspect foul play,” the Dispatch writes.
Evans’ mother, Tonya Fischer, expressed her grief on Sunday through Facebook Live.
“I’m coming on here as a mother who has just found out that I lost my first-born child,” Fischer said, choking up as she spoke. “I love you all, and you all know I’m more than willing to accept all that you have to give... but just give me a moment. Just a moment. Give my family a moment.”
Two days before Evans went missing, Fischer said she spoke with her daughter on the phone about her plans for the next 20 years.
“I said, ‘Amber, tell me what your life is going to be — your 30 and 40-year-old life — and how that looks for you.’” Fischer said, recounting the conversation for NBC News’ “Dateline.”
She says her daughter told her, “Mom, I want to go back to Paris and teach the children English again.” Evans had worked and studied in the French capital; Fischer said it was the happiest her daughter had been.
It was the last conversation she would have with her daughter.
National social justice network “Showing Up for Racial Justice” released a statement Sunday responding to the news of Evans’ death. Excerpts of the statement were published by Columbus’ local ABC affiliate.
“Anyone who knew Amber knows that she was extremely disciplined and dedicated to struggling for a better world,” wrote lead organizer Tynan Krakoff. “She treated everyone with dignity and when you spoke, it always felt like she truly was listening. She was a fighter and we will continue her legacy.”