The family of Mandy Matula, the former Minnesota college softball star whose body was discovered over the weekend in a rural park along the Mississippi River, made the 87-mile journey to the site Monday to erect a memorial in her honor.
Matula, 24, of Eden Prairie, Minn., disappeared May 1 after her father saw her get into her ex-boyfriend David Roe's car. She had left her purse, cell phone, and keys on her bed.
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Roe, immediately a suspect in the case, committed suicide just days later.
After six long months of wondering what happened to Matula, her family can now give her a proper sendoff. A hiker on Saturday stumbled across human remains in Mississippi State Park, a few counties over from the family's home, and DNA tests confirmed it was Matula. She was reportedly killed by a single gunshot wound to the head and buried in a shallow grave.
The family traveled to the site Monday and created a memorial.
"If you were to walk there now, you'd see a little trail. You'll see balloons. We carved [her softball number] 14 into one of the pine trees," Steven Matula, her brother, told MyFoxTwinCities.com
. "I knew Mandy was gone, but to know that she's found now and that we can bring her back home is a lot of relief. It's a lot of weight taken off my shoulders."
Eden Prairie police plan to keep the investigation open, even though Roe was the sole suspect, Chief Rob Reynolds told TwinCities.com.
"I believe for us and for the community, [finding Many brought] a sense of relief," he said. "I believe there's hardly a person in Eden Prairie that wasn't able to connect themselves or somebody in their family to Mandy. She was a very popular person in the city."
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