Family, friends gather at memorial to remember Annie Schmidt

Posted at 9:15 PM, Nov 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-20 23:15:53-05

BOUNTIFUL, Utah - Friends and family turned out Sunday night in Bountiful to celebrate and remember the life of Annie Schmidt, the daughter of The Piano Guys member Jon Schmidt, who died while hiking in Oregon.

But a handful of people stood out from the rest at Sunday's memorial reception, the group of search members who helped bring Annie home.

"When you see a lot of people that mean an awful lot to this search, the tears just flow," said Cathy Vanderegg, Annie's grandmother.

Vanderegg spent part of Sunday evening standing side-by-side with Annie Castiel, a woman who was instrumental in helping to recover Annie Schmidt's body.

"We didn’t know Annie at all," Castiel said. "It was an interesting set of circumstances that caused me to step in and help.”

Castiel said she has over 35 years experience in search-and-rescue efforts, but has been retired and living in Boise for over a decade. She said she was moved by a number of emotions, and from watching the news, to reach out to the Schmidt family and suggest a dog team head to Oregon to help find Annie.

Castiel's efforts to organize a search team came after a previous search effort came to an end. Castiel says she felt compelled to step in, knowing the family needed answers.

“There’s five pictures in my house," said Spencer Schmidt, Annie's brother. "It goes me, my brothers and my sisters, and we said we don’t want a question mark in that picture frame," Schmidt said while referring to Annie's absence. "So, to fill that in, knowing that we found her, is huge for us.”

Funeral services for Annie are scheduled for Monday.