DURHAM, N.H. — Two hundred people gathered Thursday on Thompson Hall lawn in remembrance of 19-year-old Westborough native Elizabeth “Lizzi” Marriott, whose disappearance and murder rattled the entire University of New Hampshire campus.
During the service, Bob Marriott encouraged the crowd to spread the “light” that radiated from his daughter.
“She’s a light bringer, who would turn heartache into hope,” he said struggling to hold back tears. “Lizzie’s light doesn’t go away.”
Shards of sunlight spread across the Great Lawn throughout the service, an act of nature that friends and loved ones attributed to Lizzi’s glow.
Marriott, a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire and a 2011 Westborough High graduate, was last seen on Oct. 9 and reported missing Oct. 11. Seth Mazzaglia, a 29-year-old martial arts instructor from Dover, was charged with her murder on Oct. 13. A search for her body continues in the area of Peirce Island in Portsmouth, N.H.
Marriott recalled the joy his daughter brought to the world, speaking of a time he waded into the ocean with her and watched as she examined dozens of sea creatures.
Later, she applied her love for marine biology in a volunteer position at the New England Aquarium, where she spent her summers working and teaching others about aquatic life.
“Her face would light up when someone would learn something they didn’t know before,” Marriott’s father said.
Lizzi came to UNH the fall semester of her sophomore year to further her studies in marine biology, pursuing her passion.
According to her father, she was ecstatic to join the community, start classes and begin making friends on campus. As that time was cut short, he encouraged others to “do it for her.”
“Reach out to your fellow students, make a connection,” he said.
He also told students to call up their parents and remind them how much they love them, and to continually hug those around you.
The Rev. Larry Brickner-Wood agreed, encouraging students to heed Marriott’s advice.
“Go hug your parents, hug each other, in that beautiful authentic way,” he said.
Near the end of the service, a few UNH students who knew Marriott growing up in Westborough spoke.
Carli Barnes said the two were good friends growing up, but in recent years had grown apart.
“She was the kindest, most vibrant person I have ever met,” Barnes said.
Another friend, Ryan Tyler, shared an experience with Lizzi, with whom he took a class in high school. Tyler said her presence made the class much more fun.
“There was a light in her, I can’t explain it,” Tyler said.
Tyler also recalled the candlelight vigil that occurred in her hometown that brought the entire community together.
“Lizzi’s spirit was connecting everyone together, he said. “Even though she is not here, she is watching over all of us.”
Abby Kessler and Cameron Johnson are Daily Voice correspondents and students at the University of New Hampshire.