Nampa mom grieves after daughter's remains found in Salmon River: 'It's heartbreaking'

A year and a half after Cayla Danenberg's car went into the Salmon River, her mom is finally getting some closure. Cayla's remains were found last week.

NAMPA - For the last week, Robin Danenberg has been reliving her worst nightmare. She says Idaho County officials told her that remains found in the Salmon River might be her daughter's.

"My last words to her was 'I love you Cayla Ann, be careful and call me when you get there,' and her words to me were 'I love you too mommy'," Danenberg said.

That call never came.

Then there was a knock on her front door. It was a police officer.

"He said 'Do you have a daughter named Cayla Danenberg?' And my whole world just crashed," she said.

Cayla Danenberg and her best friend Tiffany Maupin were headed back to the University of Idaho to finish the school year in May of 2016 when their car went off the road and into the Salmon River about six miles north of Lucile. 

"I said, 'tell me, is she alive?' And he said 'we don't know, we can't find the car,'" Danenberg said. "My heart just slammed on the floor."

It's been a year and a half since that tragic accident. Tiffany's body was found days later, but Cayla's body remained missing.until last week. Idaho County officials were able to positively identify the remains by using dental records.

"I was like, oh my God, they found her," Danenberg said. "Then I was like, oh, they found her and that means she's not coming home."

Just like that, the reality of her loss became clear and the emotions came rushing back.

"I thought how in the world am I going to get through this," she said. "She's supposed to bury me, not me bury her. I'm told that it will get easier but I don't believe that. This pain and heartache, I don't think is going to go anywhere for awhile."

For now, Danenberg takes it one day at a time and continues to try to make sense of it all. 

"I believe I'll see her again," she said. "I'd say I missed you so much, I miss your smile, I miss your laugh."

What offers her some comfort is knowing that the last thing her daughter heard from her was 'I love you.'

"Don't let a second go by, don't let a day go by without saying I love you to your loved ones because you never know when it's going to be your last."

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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