TDoR 2022 / 2022 / September / 24 / Serena Brenneman

Serena Brenneman

Age 16

24 Sep 2022
Salem, Oregon (USA)

Serena Brenneman
Serena Brenneman [photo:]

Serena's body was found in the Willamette River on Saturday 24th September. She had been missing since Friday 16th September.

A missing teen last seen at a West Salem High School football game on Sept. 16 was found dead in the Willamette River, police said.

Salem Police detectives and Polk County sheriff's deputies responded to reports of a body found in the waterway at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Police confirmed on Tuesday the body matched the description of 16-year-old [deadname] Brenneman. "An examination performed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death as drowning," police said in a statement.

Police said detectives are waiting for the results of other medical reports for official confirmation of identity, but said they are confident the person found is Brenneman. Detectives found no evidence of criminality or foul play.

Flyers and posters were widely circulated on social media and throughout the city, saying Brenneman was last seen at 9 p.m. Sept. 16. Social media posts of Brenneman's missing person flyer were shared thousands of times.

Brenneman's family posted on Facebook Tuesday, saying they are heartbroken and that their child had struggled with mental health issues the family had been getting care for. "While we can only speculate as to where [deadname] was mentally on Friday, the 16th, a note on [her] phone eluded to the fact that [her] mental health struggles remained," wrote Bryan Brenneman.

The statement also addressed numerous posts on social media that their child may have been using the name Serena and identified with they/them or she/her pronouns.

"We are aware of and had open discussions regarding [deadname]'s gender identity," the post continued. "This was an ongoing process that [deadname] continued to question with us and [herself]. If [deadname] had asked you personally to use different pronouns, or names, please continue to do so."

At a memorial held at her high school Serena was described as "Quirky, kind, stylish and sweet":

Quirky, kind, stylish, sweet: That's how many classmates remembered Serena Brenneman during a memorial at West Salem High School.

More than 100 parents, students, administrators and community members gathered near the entrance of the school Tuesday night to share their grief and memories of the 16-year-old who was last seen at a West Salem High School football game Sept. 16.

Brenneman's girlfriend spoke briefly at the memorial, recalling final conversations before she went missing. They urged those in attendance to use the name Serena, the name they said Brenneman had chosen for herself. Brenneman's partner described her as elegant, soft and beautiful and expressed a wish that others had been able to see her the same.

Report added: 30 Sep 2022. Last updated: 8 Nov 2022

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