Hundreds gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of Micah Holsonbake. Those who spoke at the service said they wished that Holsonbake be remembered by how Holsonbake lived, and the lives he touched.
The 35-year-old Holsonbake went missing in March 2018, but family members received news in December 2018 that Holsonbake’s DNA matched to that of a dismembered arm found in a duffle bag in the kern river last summer.
“Micah was the life of the party,” said Scott Haagensen, Micah’s onetime youth minister at Central Church, where the service was held. “The Micah I remember: loyal, compassionate, fun-loving, faithful, and selfless,” Haagensen continued.
Less than two weeks after Holsombake’s disappearance, his friend James Kulstad was murdered. Their friend, Baylee Despot, vanished a few weeks later.
Micah, James, and Baylee became known as the Bakersfield 3. Kulstad and Despot’s moms were in attendance today. Former KGET journalist, Kristin price, and 17’s Olivia La Voice, also came to the celebration of life; their reporting helped amplify the Bakersfield 3 moms’ voices.
“Micah’s been a good person to all of us,” one speaker, who referred to himself as a longtime friend of Holsonbake, said.
Those who spoke at the ceremony chose not to focus on how Holsonbake’s life ended, rather they chose to remember him for how he lived, noting his fun spirit, and his love for politics, religion, and girls.
“The thing I’ll miss most is our debates on politics and religion,” said a man who identified himself as Taylor, noting he was Holsonbake’s friend since middle school. “…We never shared exact viewpoints, but he was one of those people you could have a deep conversation with, and it was never personal,” he added.
Jackie Chase, who became Holsonbake’s close friend with him during their time in the church’s youth group, also spoke at the ceremony.
“Micah was a ladies man.” she said with a smile as the members in the congregation chuckled. “We would go out of town for these youth rallies, and Micah would have a girlfriend before the weekend was over. That guy had more girlfriends before junior high was over than people had their entire life,” Chase continued.
“I am just forever grateful for him, for his love, for his tenacity. He was always there for me,” said Holsonbake’s cousin Quinn.
Chase left those in attendance with a final thought:
“When you leave, don’t be sad because he wouldn’t want that. He would want you happy because that’s what he wanted for everyone.”
Holsonbake’s murder is still unsolved. If you have any information or tips about the case, you are asked to call Bakersfield Police Dept. at (661) 327-7111, or Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.