Missing Mequon woman Candace Giles remembered
She was involved at her church and served as volunteer
Mequon — When Candace Giles was reported missing, the Mequon community hoped for the best. After a day of searching and praying, the community was crushed to learn the 54-year-old mother and grandmother was found dead in the Milwaukee River.
With Giles' death, the Mequon community lost a selfless, loving heart who lived to help others, said her pastor, the Rev. Bob Sheldon of Crossroads Presbyterian Church. Giles had been involved in the church for nearly 20 years, volunteering her time to help people of all ages and walks of life in the community. She recently retired from The River Lane Inn in Brown Deer, where she worked as a waitress and hostess for more than 25 years.
"She's a wonderful person who loved people and loved to help people," Sheldon said. "Her greatest joy was serving others, helping others and loving others."
Giles was last seen Thursday morning at her home in the 5500 block of Parkview Drive. Her husband Tom worried that she was in trouble, since she did not show up to a scheduled appointment and her personal belongings were left at home.
When Mequon police issued a missing persons alert, her friends organized a search party of 100 people the next morning to search woods, parks and rivers. After an unsuccessful full-day search effort, Sheldon organized a vigil that night that was attended by 120 people.
Around 10:30 p.m. that night, a neighbor who had continued to search found Giles' body in the Milwaukee River, about 10 feet from the shore of her residence. Giles was found in about six to eight feet of water, according to Mequon police.
Ozaukee County Coroner John Holicek said Giles' cause of death was drowning, and there were no marks left on her body. He said there is no clear explanation as to why Giles would have ended up in the river.
"She's the only person who can explain that, and she's not here to tell us," Holicek said.
A positive impact
While the details of Giles' death are unclear, Sheldon said her positive impact in the community is indisputable. Giles and her husband were deacons in the church. In the past, Giles has worked in childcare areas, senior adult groups and other missions, such as Repairers of the Breach.
"She was one of these genuine servants who loved to care for other people," Sheldon said.
The Giles family and their friends are still reeling from the news of Candace's disappearance, but Sheldon said the community will be there to support them through these trying times.
"The community's just been amazingly supportive," he said. "Everybody who knew her, loved her — because we all knew she loved us."
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