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Carly Elise Seavers, 22 -- Heart Problems

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It was going to be Carly Elise Seavers' first Christmas away from home, and she couldn't stand it.
Seavers, 22, packed up her things last Tuesday and headed out of Provo, Utah, where she worked as an aide at a school for troubled teenagers. She drove 10 hours straight, heading right for her family's house in Elk Grove.

Seavers never made it home. Something went wrong as she approached the Laguna Boulevard exit on southbound Highway 99, just a mile from her home.

"It sounded like she dropped the phone," said her boyfriend, Ryan Hale, who had been chatting with Seavers on her cell phone. "I called back every two minutes for about an hour until a lady picked up and told me Carly was in the emergency room."
She went in and out of cardiac arrest over the next few hours and died the next morning. Seavers had no history of serious illness, her family said, and the Sacramento County Coroner's Office has yet to determine a cause.

But her death left her family bereft just days before Christmas. They hadn't known she was coming - she'd hoped to surprise them, mailing her gifts home ahead of time to maintain the ruse.

"It's as if there was something in her that knew she needed to be with her family to pass away," said her father, Scott Seavers.

"It felt like a divine intervention. She could have died in Nevada or Utah. But she died here."

Carly Seavers was raised in Elk Grove, graduating from Las Flores High School in 2001. Like the rest of her family, she was a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She took Scripture classes before school, and she had often talked about going on a mission to bring others into her faith.

Soon after high school, Seavers went to Provo and took a job as a counselor with Especially for Youth, a summer program for Mormon teens.

"She really loved people who were struggling to find themselves," said Hale, 26, who met Seavers when she returned to Especially for Youth last summer. "The kids were drawn to her. She knew how to get straight to who a person really is."

Seavers took a job with the Provo Canyon School last fall. She loved music - she often borrowed her father's guitar or plunked out tunes on the family's upright piano - and she harbored hopes of becoming a globe-trotting photojournalist for National Geographic. But what she wanted most of all was to be a mother, her family said. She was considering spending her life with her boyfriend.

"Carly said, 'If he doesn't make a move by Christmas, I'm going to take matters into my own hands,'" her father said.

But Seavers didn't make it to Christmas. Just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, she told her boyfriend that her car was locked in heavy traffic.

She lost consciousness, and her car slowly crept forward, catching the attention of a California Highway Patrol officer who was tending to a different accident. An ambulance already on the scene took her to Methodist Hospital, where she died about 5 a.m. Wednesday, her family said.

Christmas was quiet this year for the Seavers family, a large, tight-knit group. They still turned on the string of colored lights around their house on Christmas Eve. "She would have been mad if we didn't," her father said. But they didn't open the presents under the tree until 1 p.m.

Seavers got her father a keychain and helped buy her sister Kelly a pair of green Converse high-top shoes. For her mother, Leah, she bought a biography of Joseph Smith, the founder of their church.

Seavers' Christmas present from her family is still waiting for her in Provo: a light-red Ovation guitar, sent last week.

In addition to her parents, Seavers leaves behind five siblings: Christopher, 26; Benjamin, 24; Katie, 20; Kelly, 18; and Andrew, 16.



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