Slain restaurant worker remembered as a ‘friend to everyone’ at candlelight vigil in hometown
It mattered not that rain was falling as the designated hour for a candlelight vigil planned for Tatum Goodwin approached. The remembrance event would carry on.
Hundreds gathered at the end of the San Clemente pier Wednesday night to pay tribute to Goodwin, a 27-year-old resident of the town whose body was found last weekend in Laguna Beach, launching a murder investigation.
Family and friends attending the vigil described Goodwin as “genuine” and as a “friend to everyone.”
The minutes passed as the crowd filled in, encircling a canopy under which a batch of candles lit up a portrait of Goodwin. As reflective music played, including “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars, flowers were passed around to those in attendance.
Madison Moyer and Georgette Schuda, close friends of Goodwin’s, wore matching green sweaters with the words “You deserve to be loved” prominently displayed on the back.
Then Moyer broke the somber silence, sharing a poetic eulogy that personalized her relationship with Goodwin. She said her friend had loved the ocean and talked about being a “pirate” in her past life.
The Laguna Beach community has been stunned by the tragic death of Tatum Goodwin, who was an assistant manager at Carmelita’s in the downtown area. Police are investigating her death as a homicide.
“Tatum was so much more than my best friend,” Moyer said. “She was a friend to everyone. She was a hug-you-from-behind and rest-your-head-on-your-shoulder friend. She was a wake-you-up-in-the-morning-with-your-favorite-coffee friend. She was a surprise-you-with-balloon-and-flowers-on-your-birthday and show-up-where-you’re-at or just-to-cheer-you-up-on-a-bad-day friend.
“She was a grab-you-by-the-arm-and-make-you-dance-anywhere-you-are friend. She was a see-you-upset-and-buy-you-a-shot … friend. … She was a just-wants-to-spread-love-light-and-happiness friend.”
Moyer added that Goodwin left a legacy of love, before Schuda took a turn to share her thoughts.
“The person who did this to her, I want you to know that I [expletive] hate you for the rest of my life because she doesn’t deserve that,” Schuda said. “Not an ounce of that person deserves to have life, but also, I hope they spend the rest of their life regretting what they did and feeling pain the way that she felt pain because it is unacceptable what happened to her.
“But I want all people that cared about her to know that she was happy, and that’s what matters.”
Following their remarks, the friends encouraged attendees to raise their flowers high and then cast them into the sea below. Before doing so, they said, “Cheers to our pirate!”
Goodwin worked for four years at Carmelita’s restaurant in Laguna Beach, where she was an assistant manager. She was found dead in a remote area near Ocean Avenue at 8:20 a.m. Sunday.
Authorities announced late Wednesday that 26-year-old Dino Rojas-Moreno had been arrested as a suspect in connection with Goodwin’s killing.
Goodwin is survived by her parents, Bill and Stacy Goodwin-Pitino, and her siblings Kaylee, Alex, Jacob and Weston. She also had a dog named Brody.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect her, but she didn’t deserve this,” Tatum’s older sister, Kaylee, said through tears.
Tatum’s mom said she was “overwhelmed” by the large turnout on a rainy fall night.
“She’s just a happy-go-lucky person that would give you the shirt off her back,” Stacy said. “Tatum’s just like that. She’s just really special.”
A GoFundMe aiming to raise money for memorial services and to assist in the creation of a memorial for Goodwin in Laguna Beach had raised nearly $28,000 as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
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