FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Family and friends of a prominent Hmong community member and decorated veteran paid tribute to him on what would’ve been his 68th birthday.
The vigil for Charlie Vang was held near Blackstone and Shields at the canal where his body was found.
“I am very hurt because I don’t want them to ever find their father in the canal so I suggest you go home and hug your parent because you never know when you will lose them,” said Bee Vang, the second oldest of Charlie’s 22 children.
Her father moved to the United States in the 70s and made a name for himself quickly.
He served in the Vietnam War, was a refugee, and was well-known a leader in the Hmong community.
“He was a well-beloved father and grandfather,” said Bee.
Family was extremely important to Charlie, he had 60 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Many of them came together to light candles, hold balloons, and share stories of their loved one’s life.
Charlie went missing on June 13th after attending a funeral near Chestnut and Mckinley.
On July 1st, his body was pulled out of a central Fresno canal.
The Fresno Police Department says it does not believe there was any foul play involved, but the family continues to search for answers into what led up to his death.
“We are going through a lot of emotions right now. We just want to know how he ended up here,” said Bee.
Investigators say there were initial reports that Charlie could have been drinking the night he went missing. A full toxicology report is being done.
Anyone with any information about this case is asked to reach out to the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.