By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — MORIAH — Sierra Daha was a loyal and outgoing person, say her friends, who referred to her fondly as “Boo.”
The 22-year-old grew up in the Moriah area and had been living at the Dugway Road home of her grandmother, Mary Daha, 81.
Sierra's body was found upstairs early Tuesday after fire gutted the two-story wooden structure.
The elder Daha was able to get out of the burning house, along with Sierra’s boyfriend, Damien Sprague.
Sierra had, for a time, lived in a mobile home behind the Daha house. She had also resided for a while in Westport and apparently has extended family there and in the Ticonderoga area.
Her mother, Becky Thompson, lives in Florida.
'SHE WAS SWEET'
Sierra's close friend Kasandra Brace struggled to find words for her loss. But she wanted people to know what a wonderful friend and kind person Sierra was.
"We’ve been best friends since we were 4 years old," Brace told the Press-Republican Tuesday afternoon.
“She was sweet. She would do anything for anybody. She was always buying things and giving them away. She just loved giving gifts to people to make them happy."
Both attended Moriah Elementary School, then Sierra went to Florida for a time.
“I was thinking when we were 7 or 8 years old, a neighbor had this brick in a pot that was painted gold; we thought it was real," Brace said. "We used to make little plans to take it and dreamed about what we would do with the money."
Sierra loved children, Brace said.
"Her dad and his girlfriend just had a baby, and she was always talking about them."
And she also loved changing hairstyles.
"She used to cut her own hair," Brace said. "She was always changing her hair color — bright pink, red.
"She was very talented, she wrote poetry and stuff. I have a handful of jewelry that she made for me — it's in my hands right now.
"She will be missed by a lot of people. I’m going to keep her memory with me."
Sierra had been with her boyfriend for about a year.
"Damien was always a quiet kid, really quiet in school," Brace recalled.
Friends began posting on Sierra’s Facebook page as word of the tragedy began to spread Tuesday morning.
Some couldn’t believe the news was true. Others offered prayers for Sierra’s close friends and family.
Sydney Sweatt of Moriah left a message marked with a heart.
“You didn't deserve to go the way you did. Fly high up there,” the young woman wrote in a sad remembrance.
“Sucks how soon you were taken from this world. Fly high,” another young Moriah woman, Keely Budwick-French, posted.
“I hope you're at peace and know that you are missed,” wrote Francesca Brace.
Kasandra put it simply: “She was my best friend in the world.”
Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said people saw Sierra as a sweet person who wanted to help others and get her life in order.
“It’s a horrible tragedy. My condolences go out to the family.”
Sierra had had a few run-ins with the law in her late teens but was working to finish school and obtain a GED.
Three years ago, Ticonderoga Police arrested Sierra, then 19, for selling prescription drugs. She served a short time in jail.
She also faced charges for another drug sale and for shoplifting at the Ticonderoga Wal-Mart SuperCenter.
In a prosaic note posted on her Facebook page in December 2010, Sierra was honest about her feelings and a possible conviction.
“I’v been praying every night. i dont wanna go to jail. well who would i guess,” she wrote.
“im so afraid of what my future holds. … im working on getting my G.E.D. witch seems ta be takin for ever. … im so happy to be back living with my mom shes the best mom in the whole widest world. i love her more than anyone could ever love anybody. well happy holidays to all!”
After a recent four-month sentence, Sierra shared the news of her release with friends and the public on Facebook, saying in a post that day: “I Was LockedUp. Just Out Today. Im Finally Free.”
Despite the challenges that Sierra faced, friends recalled her kindness and spirit.
“Young lives should never be (taken),” another friend, Brian Morgia, posted on Daha’s Facebook page Tuesday.
"Forever remembered. Forever young."
Email Kim Smith Dedam: firstname.lastname@example.org