One year has passed since Concord man, 27, disappeared in the Delta
CONCORD, Calif. (KTVU) - A remembrance was held Tuesday night for a 27-year-old Concord man who disappeared exactly one year ago.
Electrician David Kempker went off to the Delta one night, and while his companions returned, he was never seen again.
"I don't know if we'll ever have David back in body but he is still here with us in many ways," said his aunt Anita Descalzo, speaking to a crowd outside Wren Avenue Elementary School, which Kempker attended as a boy.
Born and raised in Concord, he kept close neighborhood ties, and more than 100 people turned out to honor him and call for answers.
"We don't know what happened, we don't know anything," mother Janis Descalzo told KTVU, " so anything information anyone could give us would be a blessing."
Descalzo has always doubted the story: that her son and some acquaintances went to Sherman Island in the Delta for early-morning fishing, but became separated.
The companions returned to Concord without Kempker, whose truck was found a few days later, with no sign of him.
"And there were no fishing poles," pointed out longtime friend Ayla Peters, who organized search parties for Kempker after he disappeared.
"I have never met the people he was with, never talked to them, and I would not call them friends," said Kempker's mother.
Police have cleared the other individuals of suspicion, and say there is no indication of foul play.
"It looks like he ran off from them on his own and has not been seen since," said Concord Police Lt. Mike Kindorf. "That time of year there is high-moving water, fast current, and there's a lot of dangers out in that area if you don't know what you're getting into."
Kempker was known to be impulsive and adventurous, a self-described adrenaline-junkie.
"Somebody knows something," says Peters, rejecting the notion Kempker suffered an accidental injury and possibly drowned. "He was the life of the party and the one who would drop everything for those he lovedd and if I was the one missing, he 'd be right here for me."
Kempker's friends and family cling to hope he is still alive.
"If anybody knows anything, sees anything, if you think it's him, snap a photo from your cell phone," plead his mother Janis.
At the vigil, several young relatives of Kempker's were distraught.
"He's still with me in my heart," said cousin Joseph Descalzo, 10, tearfully, "and he was very funny and fun to be around."
Kempker's parents expressed appreciation for the large turnout and the support they have received from their community.
Their son's September birthday, and then the holidays, were the hardest time leading to this anniversary.
"David always loved Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas so to go through those things without him was horrific," said his mother.
At the vigil, Kempker's aunt Anita Descalzo urged the crowd to stay strong and "share more, cherish more, love more."
A procession wound along Wren Avenue to the family home, then back to the elementary school before the candles were blown out.
"I have faith that we will have answers someday, but in the meantime I am breathing and attempting to do more," Descalzo said.