Candlelight vigil held for 2 students swept into ocean along Santa Cruz coast

On Thursday night, there was an emotional candlelight vigil in Palo Alto for two college students swept into the ocean along the Santa Cruz coast. Family members are desperate for answers.

The vigil was held at a park across from Shireen Ahsan's family home in Palo Alto. It was the 19-year-old's first and last trip to Bonny Doon Beach. Her family and the family of 25-year-old Solaiman Nourzaie want closure.

A a sea of candles filled a Palo Alto park to remember Ahsan and Nourzaie. On Monday, the U.C. Santa Cruz students were with friends at Bonny Doon Beach near Santa Cruz when the two were swept off a rock into the ocean. The surf was estimated as high as 10 to 15 feet.

"I would have liked to spend some more time with her," said Sara Ahsan, Shireen Ahsan's mother.

Ahsan's family showed KTVU a picture of the Palo Alto native taken by a friend at Bonny Doon Beach the day she went missing. Her mother cried looking at that picture. Ahsan was wearing her mother's jacket.

"We don't have closure then that's what life will be like, every time you see someone it's her," said Agha Ahsan, Shireen Ahsan's father.

"Maybe she was saved, maybe some boat picked her up," said Sara Ahsan. "I keep calling her cell phone."

Besides Ahsan's family, the family of Solaiman Nourzaie from San Jose is also grieving.

"There's slowly the acceptance that with the weather conditions where they fell how cold it is that they are not coming back," said Omar Nourzaie, Solaiman Nourzaie's brother.

A formal search has now been suspended due to dangerous conditions. The families vow they'll keep searching, enlisting the help of private investigators. They're warning others to not take Mother Nature for granted.

"Having been there before, knowing what to expect they were still taken by surprise," said Omar Nourzaie.

A fundraising page has been set up for Nourzaie at

There will be a service at an Islamic center in San Jose Friday night. and a memorial service at the UC Santa Cruz campus on Saturday.