Friends remember Peyton Riekhof


By Dan Domsic

Support from the community for Peyton Riekhof, 18, her family and her friends came in more than one form.

Riekhof, a Hamilton Southeastern High School graduate, was the subject of a search that began after she left a friend’s home early in the morning of July 18.

A state-wide Silver Alert would be issued.

A Facebook page aiming to help find her was created, and so was one wishing her to rest in peace.

The community held vigils.

Ryan Ahlwardt, area director for HSE Young Life, a ministry, led what he stressed was a celebration on July 22 at HSEHS.

He spoke about being with Riekhof’s friends in Geist in a driveway near where Riekhof’s vehicle was later discovered.

“It was interesting, because I heard a lot of grief,” he said, “but in the midst of that, I heard a lot of joy, and I heard a lot of laughter, and I saw a lot of smiles… I don’t know who it was, but someone much wiser than me said laughter is the closest thing that we get to see of heaven. Laughter is a form of worship. Again, if the words don’t work, laughter works, tears work.”

Attendees had a chance to share what they love about her, as well as their memories of her.

One by one, people spoke up, and Ahlwardt would reiterate.

She was a “Harry Potter” fan.

She always had a smile on her face.

She was always there for you.

And much more.

Riekhof’s black 2006 Mercury Mariner was pulled from Geist Reservoir on July 21 after a citizen tipped FPD off to tire tracks that pointed toward a northwest section of the reservoir, according to a news release.

A body, later identified as Riekhof, was found in the vehicle.

An autopsy was conducted July 22, and the Hamilton County Coroner found that Riekhof died of drowning.

FPD spokesman Tom Weger said the investigation is ongoing.

How and why she ended up in the reservoir was still unknown as of last week.

“To be very honest with you, we may never know how that happened or why that happened,” he said.

Attempts to reach the Riekhof family for comment were unsuccessful.