Friends & family remember woman found unconscious on Watertown’s Riverwalk

Rayne Stokes vigil

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It was a night honoring and remembering a young woman who died last week after she was found unconscious in downtown Watertown.

“She was very selfless. Kind. Caring. She put everyone above her own.”

That’s how Rayne Stokes is remembered by the people who are closest to her.

On Thursday night hundreds gathered to remember the 19-year-old.

Rayne was found unconscious on the Veterans Memorial Riverwalk in Watertown early Friday morning. She was taken to Samaritan Medical Center and passed away shortly after.

“So many times I’ve been down this river walk and I would have never imagined that I would be standing here tonight speaking on a friend that I held so dear to my heart and speaking of her in past tense,” said her friend, Brooke McDonald.

Friends and family say Rayne had a passion for cheerleading and an even bigger passion for animals.

“As a little girl, I remember the first time I realized she had a love for all animals big or small, her mother, Tessa Stokes, said. “There was a frog with a broken leg. She insisted on getting popsicles sticks and trying to splint his leg to fix him.”

Candles were lit and flowers were placed, both signs of just how loved she was.

“Her memory is going to live on for a long time,” her friend, Gabrielle Hutchins said. “No matter what, nobody’s going to be able forget about her, because we’re going to be right there, telling everyone what kind of person she was.”

Her mom says if she was still here today, Rayne would have this message: “If she was here right now, she would tell everybody to never leave angry and always say ‘I love you.’ No matter what. That’s our girl.”

Her death is still under investigation, but Watertown police haven’t said whether or not foul play was involved.

Regardless, her loved ones say they hope justice is served.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.