Memorial held for Matthew Ahrens, missing plane pilot

RICHFIELD, Utah It's been less than a month since Matthew Ahrens, his girlfriend and her daughter died in a plane crash.

On Saturday, dozens gathered at St. Johns Lutheran in Southeast Bakersfield to remember the 1993 South High graduate.

Born September 26, 1975, Matthew Ahrens grew up in Bakersfield and than went on to attend the University of Southern California where he earned a degree in engineering.

Those closest say Matthew was a true adventurer, achieving his pilot's license and owning his own plane.

It was that plane he would later fly from his current hometown in Wyoming with his girlfriend Trista Meyer and her 9-year-old daughter Shyanne Lenz, taking a trip to Bakersfield to spend the Thanksgiving with family and friends. Following Thanksgiving the three departed from Shafter on a route back to Wyoming.

Their small plane stopped in Fillmore, Utah for refueling. That was the last time anyone would see or hear from Matthew, his girlfriend and her daughter.

It was a 7 day search that gripped thousands of people from Kern county and beyond- thoughts and prayers hoping the 3 would somehow be found.

One week after stopping in Utah, search and rescue crews located the down plane in the rough mountain terrain about 14 miles east of the Fillmore airport.

Friends say Matthew could accomplish anything he set his mind to -- and at a very early age he would take apart anything mechanical to make it work better or faster.

Matthew followed his father and brother's footsteps and became an automobile mechanic.

His two constant companions were his two well-loved dogs, Brittany and Indy who also passed away with him.

Matthew Ahrens was 37 years old.

A preliminary report about the plane crash has been inclusive only saying the plane had plenty of fuel and was not over weight.