The family of a Somerville woman who was killed in a boat crash in Boston Harbor early Saturday morning is grieving and searching for answers as to what exactly led to her death.
Jeanica Julce, 27, died after the boat carrying her and seven others struck a navigational marker off Castle Island around 3 a.m., officials said. Everyone else aboard the vessel survived the crash.
“My sister was beautiful in every way,” her sister, Latoya Julce, wrote in a text message to the Globe. “She could always find a way to make anyone feel better or confident about themselves. I’m not understanding how she’s the only one that didn’t make it.”
She said her sister, “the light in our family,” was with friends on the boat, and that she was often on the boat.
Her brother’s girlfriend, Renee Harris, said the family is having a hard time grappling with the sudden loss.
“Jeanica was an absolute amazing and beautiful soul,” Harris wrote in a Facebook message to the Globe. “No words can even begin to explain the impact she had on everyone around her. This loss is hitting the family hard.”
Her father, Wilfrid Julce, said in a telephone interview that Jeanica studied at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She also loved to dance, he said.
“Her plan was to open a studio,” he said in a telephone interview.
He described his daughter as outgoing and ambitious, someone who “loved life.”
“She was always smiling, laughing. She was a people person. Ask anybody,” he said.
According to the US Coast Guard, the name of the boat involved in the crash was “Make It Go Away.” A Coast Guard spokeswoman referred further questions about the boat, including the name of the owner, to the Boston Police Department, which is leading the investigation into the Somerville woman’s death along with the Suffolk District Attorney’s office.
Wilfrid Julce said he didn’t know what led the boat operator to crash into the navigational marker, and that his family is awaiting answers from investigators.
He said he believed the boat owner had recently purchased the vessel.
Ryan Denver, a former employer and longtime friend to Jeanica Julce, said he was among the group on the boat when it crashed.
“I am incredibly saddened by the loss of my dear friend this weekend in a boating accident on Boston Harbor. My deepest sympathies are extended to Jeanica’s family,” Denver said in a statement. “I am thankful to those first responders who came to our aid and will cooperate with their follow-up to our rescue.”
A Boston police incident report states that another vessel reported the collision between the recreational boat and Day Marker #5 near Castle Island in a distress call at approximately 3:09 a.m. July 17.
Boston police and members of the Boston Fire Department, Massport Fire Rescue, and the US Coast Guard responded and rescued seven people from the water. Julce’s body was recovered from the water shortly after 10 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.
A GoFundMe page was launched by Julce’s family. As of Monday afternoon $16,338 had been raised.
“Jeanica loved to dance, she danced her way into everyone’s heart,” the page said. “Her smile lit up the room.”
Globe correspondent Nick Stoico contributed to this report.