Liz’s sister and her husband started a business selling rugs from the east. Liz acted as a bookkeeper and helped with marketing. Liz also helped design jewelry for another Swami-inspired businesses.
Liz’s most dedicated work was in the ashram itself, in the kitchen, where she made meals for the Swami. She was a cook and baker.
Wish I could have gotten those baking tips from you…I so appreciate your fabulous skills with food, and will think of your memorable creations often.
Her eldest child, Vanessa, had a child of her own. Liz often cared for her granddaughter Genevieve at the ashram. Genevieve would sometimes stay overnight. She had her own bed in Liz’s apartment.
Liz was a ray of sunshine, always brought life into a room. Over the many years of knowing her, I have never seen a sad face she was always happy. She loved to be around people she loved. Liz was caring, loving, hopeful, happy, and just a joy to be around. She was always a great person to talk to. There is no one like her. She was one of a kind…. going into a room and seeing your bright smile. Your smile could make anyone’s bad day go better.
I loved working in the kitchen, sharing each others stories, laughing and tasting the most delicious pastries I’ve ever experienced. Sharing the third floor space, scarf fashion shows in your room and in the hall, laughing till we cried.
Liz! It’s been a joy to have shared some part of this life with you. Your most excellent cooking and sweetness in all things you’ve touched is missed and will never be forgotten. Wishing you a brilliant journey onward!
Liz, I appreciated your presence in my life more than words. You always magically showed up knocking at my door when I needed someone the most. Your caring and laughter would fill me up and make me forget my troubles. The care, kindness, fun and generosity that you gave me, will live on in my heart forever…. I will miss your company, friendship and laughter tremendously. I feel blessed to have known such a beautiful soul ~ you taught so much through your actions. Thank you Liz
The Swami and Sharon Ward. She often said she would take a bullet for the Swami and possibly deliver one for him too.
Why was the Swami angry with her? How serious was it?
It seems Liz disobeyed the Swami. She remained in contact with someone who had left the community. But was that someone a woman or girl the Swami had abused?
Heather Gail George and the Swami
Dear sweet Liz, your physical departure still hasn’t settled in. Maybe this is because your presence, for me, was always somewhat ethereal in nature. You truly have been a light in my life, and I know this is true for all those who knew you. As I have told Theresa and Vivi, my door and heart will always be open to them.
It has been such a joy sharing a home with you guys. I will cherish the mala you made me as one of my most precious possessions. Like everything you ever made, you put your whole heart into it and created something that creates awe and wonder at the beauty and talent so few possess.
Our last conversation, just a few hours before you left, we were talking about how much we were going to miss each other, but acknowledged that distance was not going to weaken our connection. You wished me well on my next adventure. And I wished for you to get the rest you needed. We hugged and said goodnight and how much we loved each other. We never know what our last words will be with our loved ones, but I could not be more grateful for ours now. Rest in peace and surrounded by all of our love my friend. Time for your next adventure too it seems. We’ll be ok, go be free to create beauty in new ways. A hui hou ~ Until we meet again.
And leave the ashram she did.
Though it was 28 degrees outside, Liz did not take an overcoat. She left her purse, wallet, credit cards, ID, and cash behind.
She wore a gold ring with a large flat, square amethyst on her left ring finger.
We do not know when Liz left.
We know her cell phone left at 10:40 pm, according to AT&T location records. The phone moved southwest for the next 12 minutes. This time and location were consistent, with Liz walking to NE 30th and Glisan and boarding the #19 bus heading downtown.
It could also be consistent with it and her being in a car, concious or not.
Thursday, January 19
Steele Bridge Portland, OR
TriMet is the public agency that operates the Steele Bridge, which spans the Willamette River. A pedestrian came out of the night to find a TriMet worker. The person said a woman was on the south side of the bridge and went into the water under the grain elevator.
Another pedestrian, possibly known to the first, told a TriMet worker they heard a splash, then a scream on the east side of the river.
The information relayed on the call was hearsay. TriMet workers had not seen the woman or heard her scream.
The witnesses did not give their names or remain on the scene to provide details to the rescue workers.
They disappeared into the night, not leaving a contact number or name on the records.
At the time, no one connected this to Liz. Why would they? No one even knew she was missing.
It was not until six hours later – someone told Vanessa her mother did not show up for work.
Vanessa called her. The phone went straight to voicemail.
She went to Liz’s room and found her mother’s bed had not been slept in. Everything was neat.
Vanessa noticed Liz’s purse was there. Her cell phone was gone.
Officer Randy A Hauskins came in the afternoon. He knew nothing about the 911 call to MCSO about a woman screaming in the river as told by two anonymous passersby.
Friday, January 20
Ward told police that on Friday evening, her K9 dogs began a track starting at SW 2nd and Taylor where the phone was last known to be.
Sharon Ward with a cadaver sniffing dog.
Saturday January 21
The Portland Police Bureau’s Missing Persons Unit is asking for the public’s help to locate a 62-year-old woman missing since January 19, 2017.
Liz Bazzani is described as 5’4″ tall, 100 pounds, white hair, and green eyes. She was last seen wearing green Ugg-style boots, flowing light-colored pajama pants, and a blue sweater. Bazzani is familiar with TriMet [municipal buses], but left all personal affects at her residence in Northeast Portland.
Bazzani’s family is concerned for her welfare, as she is normally in regular contact with them. She was reported missing after she did not show up for work in the Pearl District on Thursday morning. There are no indications that her disappearance involves foul play….
Sunday, January 22.
WARD told me they would redo a shoreline search with HRD dogs later that day (1/22/2017), once it was dark and the riverfront cleared of people.
I spoke with WARD about MI. [Liz] She told me that MI has been losing weight recently. Her hair was changing, and she recently fell.
I requested WARD contact me if she obtained any new information.
Det. Helwig’s report continues.
On 1/23/2017, I again spoke with WARD. WARD told me that she worked the river last night with 5 K9s. She told me that they ran the dogs individually up the dock in front of the RiverPlace Hotel.
She told me that 4 of the 5 dogs independently alerted to the smell of human decomposition on the pilings holding the dock. She sent me photos of their track and the GPS locations of the two pilings where the scent was detected.
WARD also told me that the RiverPlace area was a special place to MI, as she had spent a lot of time walking and recreating in the immediate area. It was also not a far walk from where MI’s cell phone was last known to be.
WARD inquired as to whether a dive team could be utilized to check around the surrounding dock. I told her I would contact the MCSO Search and Rescue Coordinator and ask about the possibility.
I asked WARD whether the K9’s had traveled any further south along the waterfront, upriver.
She told me they had only minimally gone further south. I asked if she could check the waterfront southbound, including the dock that holds Newport Bay Restaurant (now closed).
WARD told me she would pull a team together to search that night.
I paged the MCSO Search and Rescue Coordinator, and later heard back from Sgt. Dangler.
I explained my investigation to date and the response to this area by HRD search dogs.
I forwarded him my flier as well as the information and photos I had obtained from WARD. Sgt. Dangler told me their dive team had training planned for the next two days, and may be able to include a search as part of their training. He contacted me later and told me that a search of the dock was scheduled for 1100 hours on 1/25/2017.
Monday, January 23
PORTLAND, Ore. – The family [Sharon Ward?] of a Portland woman that’s been missing since January 19 said she likely “made an irrational decision that took her life.”
Portland Police asked for the public’s help Saturday in finding Liz Bazzani.
According to her family, there have been clues that she may have become hypothermic while spending time near the river, acted irrationally, and possibly made a fatal decision….
I met with Sgt. Dangler and other MCSO Dive Team members on the north breakwater dock of River Place Marina. Ward was also present and directed searchers to where the K9’s detected human remains. The search did not yield any results.
Later that same evening, I received a call from MCSO Deputy Nuzum, who had heard about the search efforts for MI. [Liz]Deputy Nuzum told me he recalled a SAR [Search and Rescue] callout he had on the morning of 1/19/2017, for a water rescue of a woman in the water near the Steele Bridge.
Deputy Nuzum told me they searched the area, but did not find a body. He told me the caller was no longer on scene and they only had minimal information but thought it was mentioned that the woman in the water was older.I was able to locate the CAD call (CAD#PP17-17703) related to this incident and documented in MCSO Case #17-2209.
The call documents a woman in the water screaming at 0205 hours on 1/19/2017. The location is the Willamette River eastbound at the Steele Bridge. All the information in the call is 2nd hand info to TriMet workers on the bridge from a pedestrian walking by. The woman was first seen at the south side of the bridge, and then the witness thought she went under at the grain elevator.
Another pedestrian reported hearing a splash, then a scream on the east side of the river. The witnesses did not remain on scene and were not able to be interviewed.
Saturday, January 28.
Monday, January 30
MCSO River Patrol Deputy Todd Shanks and Detective Yandell sent Det. Helwig a photo of the ring on the left ring finger of the deceased. It was a gold ring with a large amethyst stone.
At 3 pm, Helwig made the official notification that Liz had been recovered.
Helwig obtained the video from the pedestrian walkway under the Steele Bridge at the time of the 9-1-1. The video was dark and grainy. It did not show anyone falling in the water.
I can observe a subject walk onto the ped walkway from the west side of the river and stop. I can see the subject wait and pace, occasionally look over the side rail into the river, then wave to unknown people off camera. The subject then walked back to the west side of the river. The subject appeared alone. I am unable to determine if the subject is MI [Liz], or even if they are male or female.
Shortly after the subject walks off camera, I can see hurried flashlights searching on the east side of the river. An estimation based upon the CAD call is these may be Trimet workers or police, looking for the woman or responding to the witness accounts.
During my investigation, I did not find any evidence to support the possibility of foul play in the death of MI BAZZANI. Her behavior was described by unusual by family and friends in the weeks leading up to her death.
Additionally, her physical and mental state seemed to be declining, from an unknown cause.
The information provided in cell phone records show that MI likely left her residence between 2240 and 2252 hours on 1/18/2017, and spent some time walking downtown. I did not find any information that she met with anyone, and it appears she spent her last few hours alone.
I did not find any notes or other information to suggest that MI was suicidal, however her erratic behavior and physical/mental decline may have contributed.
This missing person case is exceptionally cleared.
Farewell sweet Liz. You live on in my heart and mind. Every day, I remember all the small things you did on a regular basis to make my life, and the lives of those around you, colorful and full of beauty and kindness. Rest with the angels, dear Liz. Love you always, Sadhvi