Jenise Wright finally laid to rest

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Jenise Wright was laid to rest by family and friends today at Greenacres Memorial Park in Ferndale.

The morning started with a  Catholic Funeral Mass at the Nooksack Tribe Community Building in Everson.

Jenise's white casket was draped in a purple Native American blanket. The casket was opened for viewing during a Rosary Service Friday night, but there was no viewing this morning.

The Reverend Father Emilio Gonzalez of St. Peter Catholic Church officiated the ceremonies. During Mass, there were readings from the the Book of Wisdom and the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans.

Father Gonzalez also read from the Holy Gospel According to Matthew and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The familiar Beatitudes say:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Once at the cemetery, Father Gonzalez said he would be brief as Jenise had waited long enough. The assembled crowd spoke together the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary. Father Gonzalez eventually sprinkled the casket with Holy Water and whispered a final blessing to Jenise.

As Jenise's body was lowered into its final resting place, Jenise's mother, Denise, sobbed and moaned. The assembled crowd soon followed suit and collectively wept. Jenise's father, James, clutched his young son and tried to comfort him.

Once the casket was in place, family members and friends tossed handfuls of dirt and flowers into the grave before returning to the tribal community building for a lunch of alder smoked salmon, pancit noodles, chicken adobo and more.

Jenise was first reported missing as darkness set in August 4 and her body was found at about 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 7. Gabe Gaeta, a neighbor of the Wright family in the Steele Creek Mobile Park in East Bremerton, was arrested Saturday, Aug. 9, after investigators said they found DNA evidence linking him to Jenise's rape and murder.

Gaeta is being held on $1 million bail and potentially faces life in prison if convicted of first degree murder with aggravating circumstances. Prosecutors are waiting for Gaeta to receive a competency evaluation at Western State Hospital on Sept. 3 before charging him. His next court appearance, and possible arraignment, is slated for Sept. 12.

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