AMES, Iowa — As the Ames community continues to recover from the tragic shootings at Cornerstone Church, residents are remembering the lives lost. According to the people who knew her, 22-year-old Eden Montang was strong, hardworking, extremely motivated and a whole lot more.
Montang was a senior at Iowa State University, where she was studying for a career in the field of human development and family studies. That's where she met Professor Amie Zarling, when she took her class last semester. Zarling said Eden had an incredible dedication to her work: she reached out a month before class even started to get a head start on her work.
"Her voice was so important in that, and she had ideas, and she had passion about that. What I want people to know is, losing that is a tragedy."
Another of Montang's professors, Dr. Amy Popillion, shared a statement about her student with Local 5. She said, "She often stayed after class to visit about the day's topics. I recently ran into Eden, and we chatted about school and life. She shared that she was excited to take another class with me in the fall. There will be an empty seat in her honor."
Outside of class, Montang also served as a mortuary affairs specialist in the Iowa National Guard and worked at Massage Heights in Ames.
In a Facebook post, coworkers said: "Eden was a woman of faith and dedication. Eden was a caring, positive force, and we will miss her deeply."
Authorities say the Cornerstone Church shooting was targeted: Montang was killed by Johnathan Lee Whitlatch, an ex-boyfriend. For Zarling, who researches domestic violence, Montang's memory has become a reason to continue with her work.
"I realized with sadness, I have additional reasons to do the work that I do. I'm adding her to my list of reasons," Zarling said.
Montang's funeral is Wednesday at 3 p.m. The funeral for the other victim, 21-year-old Vivian Flores, is Thursday at 2 p.m.
Both services will be held at Cornerstone Church in Ames.