Phoenix G. Cerenil, October 22, 2003 – June 17, 2023

Jun 29, 2023 | Obituaries

Phoenix Cerenil

Phoenix Gene Cerenil was born on Oct. 22, 2003, in Cheyenne, Wyo., to Refugio Rice Cerenil and Autumn Starr Cerenil-Lee, who has been a missing person since January 2014.

Phoenix started school in Colorado and later moved to Pine Bluffs, Laramie and finally settled in Cheyenne, where she was a caretaker for children in her family and was described as a kind, gentle, artistic and giving soul. She loved animals and children, was creative and loved to weld and cook.

After being on life support, after apparently being strangled by her boyfriend, Rees Lucas Karn who has been arrested and charged with her murder, she officially left this world on June 17, 2023. As her last act of kindness, she was an organ donor and was able to save five lives through the devastating loss of her own life.

Her memorial service is on June 29, 2023, in Pine Bluffs, Wyo. There will also be a candlelight vigil held in her honor at 8 p.m. on July 3, 2023, at LaPrele Park in Laramie, Wyo.

She is survived by her father, Refugio, and stepmother, Kelsea Cerenil; siblings Jourdaine, Refugio and Sadie Cerenil; stepsiblings Cash and Isabelle Smith and Gabriel Terral; grandparents Gigi and Reggie Bannister of Crestline, and Cesareo Cerenil; two sets of step-grandparents; great-aunts and uncles; aunts Starla D. Porter, Ellen Elyse Bannister, Trilby Coles, Kathleen Supiro and Megan Whitener; and numerous cousins, among many other loved ones from Wyoming to California, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota and elsewhere.

Phoenix was preceded in death by her grandmother, Leigh Cerenil, Joyce Lee Patrick, her great-aunt, Helen Butch Stoever, and it is assumed by her mother, Autumn Cerenil-Lee.

Her grandmother, Crestline resident Gigi Bannister, who was unable to attend the funeral, said that “in honor of Phoenix we have started a TeeSpring site, using a design she chose. We’re also starting Mothers Against Domestic Violence, which will tour the country and create a podcast against Domestic Violence. We see this as an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and keep her in our hearts and minds in a way that will help others. In her short life, Phoenix taught us to be kind, to love family and to laugh. She will be missed by many.”

To purchase memorial items with Phoenix’s design, visit


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