Friends share memories of Heather Alaina Carroll

From left, Carolyn Hearn and Emily Maier sing “For Good” at the memorial service for Heather Carroll, Thursday at Bayside Community Church in Kingston. Carroll, who grew up in Suquamish, was murdered Oct. 17 in Hollister, Calif.  - Kipp Robertson / Herald
From left, Carolyn Hearn and Emily Maier sing “For Good” at the memorial service for Heather Carroll, Thursday at Bayside Community Church in Kingston. Carroll, who grew up in Suquamish, was murdered Oct. 17 in Hollister, Calif.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

KINGSTON — There’s a reason Emily Maier chose to sing “For Good,” from the musical “Wicked,” at the memorial service for her friend Heather Alaina Carroll, Thursday at Bayside Church.

The former Emily Hearn and Heather Beckwith were good friends since age 5, and as their families’ paths diverged their friendship remained strong. When they were 9, the Hearns moved to Shelton and the Beckwiths remained in Suquamish. When the girls visited each other, “we would intentionally leave stuff so we would have to see each other again,” Maier said.

Maier matured into a tomboy, Carroll into a “girly girl” who insisted on doing makeovers on her friend during visits. “She was the most fun person to be around ... the life of the party,” Maier said.

Then, young adulthood. Maier’s husband’s service in the Marines took the couple to California; Carroll’s family moved to Las Vegas, where Heather met and married and became a mom. The friends visited each other there when Carroll was six months pregnant. “She was so happy she was going to have a baby,” Maier said.

The years, and life, went on. The Maiers moved to Tacoma, the Carrolls moved to Hollister, Calif. The two regularly kept in touch via social media, their friendship undiminished by distance and time.

“She was a big influence on my life,” Maier said.

So when Carroll’s friends and family gathered at Bayside to remember the young wife and mother, Maier and Carolyn Hearn, Maier’s mom, knew which song would be most appropriate.

“It’s a song about two friends who never know if they are going to see each other again, and how much impact they had on each other’s lives,” Maier said.

Carroll, 25, was found dead in a house in Hollister, Oct. 13, three days after she was reported missing. The coroner determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma and strangulation.

A Hollister man, David Jose Quiroz, surrendered Oct. 13 after a 10-hour standoff with police and is charged with her murder.

Carroll grew up in Suquamish and left an impression that endures eight years after she and her family moved away: That of a “fun kid” who loved music and loved singing in her church choir.

“She was a great kid, a fun kid to be around,” said Brian Whelan, a family friend and an elder at Bayside Church. “This has all come out of left field,” he said of the murder.

Carroll attended local schools, and she and her family were members of Bayside Church, where she was involved in Sunday school, children’s choir and other activities. The family lived here until moving in 2004 to Las Vegas, Nev. It was there that Heather met her husband, Grady. Their son, Riley, was born in Las Vegas on July 7, 2007.

In 2011, Heather, Grady and Riley moved to Hollister, Calif., near Grady’s parents Mike and Susan Carroll.

Friends and others posted memories of her on Facebook and sent them by email to RememberHeather The collective writings will be combined into a book for Carroll’s family.

Kimberly Thornton: “I met Heather in church when I was about 8 years old (she was about 5) when we were both members of the church’s kids choir. She cherished that choir; I could never reiterate enough how much she loved to sing, dance, act and perform. She shined on that stage and always had a very angelic presence about her.

“For several years or more, we practiced and performed together at the church, in malls and at other community events. Strong bonds were formed over those years with Heather, the other children and our families, as we spent a lot of time together.

"Heather was the person who wanted everyone to be happy and would bend over backwards to make you smile. During our home-schooling experience there were definitely a lot of smiles and laughs. I can remember several times when Heather came bounding out of her room wearing stretch pants, a sweat band on her head and some other crazy ensemble resembling the clothing of the instructor on the [fitness] video. That was just like Heather; always energetic, bubbly and giving her 100 percent.

"I've always had a special place in my heart for Heather and her family. It's one of those connections you have with certain people that even when you're separated by miles or years, when you reunite it's as if time didn't pass at all. This past week proved that to be true, especially after having a long, heart-felt and bittersweet phone conversation with Mark [Heather's father]. This sorrowful end to Heather's beautiful life has in-turn brought so many of her loved-ones back together."

Ray Tate, South Kitsap: “Heather will always be the greatest person that I will ever know. She was a very caring and loving person.”

Amber Roswell, Clover Park Technical College, Lakewood: “My younger brother has been very close friends with Heather’s younger brother for the last 15 years. My siblings and I spent many weekends with the Beckwiths as they grew to be close family friends ... I remember how she loved to sing and was often in musicals at her church. We loved her and will miss her.”

Helen Ross, Seattle: “How tragic when a young life is cut short so brutally. I don’t know them but [offer] my prayers for their family and friends. It’s a sad world indeed.”


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