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Stepfather says Eugene girl killed by log on coast was larger than life, 'the best kid'

Aurora Genai Sheffel was killed on the coast Saturday, March 25, 2017 when a log she was standing on in the surf rolled on top of her. Now, her family is mourning her loss. Photo courtesy Dave Wederquist

EUGENE, Ore. – A North Eugene High School varsity cheerleader died Saturday when a log rolled on top of her at a beach in Bandon.

Monday, police confirmed 14-year-old Aurora Genai Sheffel sustained life threatening injuries at South Jetty Park Beach. She was pronounced deceased at South Coos Hospital.

“It’s the worst feeling anyone can feel,” said Dave Wederquist, Aurora’s stepfather.

Officials say around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Genai Sheffel was standing on a log in the surf when a wave came and turned the log on top of her.

Wederquist said even though he wasn’t Genai Sheffel’s biological father, he’s been close to her for most of her life. He said her presence was larger than life.

“The best kid – this part is going to be hard,” Wederquist said.

Wederquist now must do something no parent should have to go through – burying his child.

In the days after Genai Sheffel’s death, Wederquist is finding comfort in his memories of her.

“If you were ever wanted to describe something so beautiful - Aurora, that's her,” he said.

Shining bright in all of her pictures, Genai Sheffel was true to her name.

Her stepfather said she was a smart bookworm and a fiery cheerleader.

“It’s hard, you know? She’s one of a kind,” Wederquist said.

Genai Sheffel was often surrounded by friends. They were with her Saturday for a spring break trip to the coast. They spent the day taking pictures and enjoying time away from school.

“You know, just go enjoy being a kid,” Wederquist said.

But the trip ended in tragedy when the log Genai Sheffel was standing on rolled on top of her from a receding wave.

“The loss was insurmountable, Wederquist said.

Now, the family’s left with precious memories, searching for a way to move forward.

“How do you go on? Life will never be the same,” Wederquist said. “I don’t know that we have to.”

The family created a GoFundMe page to help pay for Aurora’s funeral costs. In one day, they surpassed their $5,000 goal by several thousand dollars.

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