Officials in Minnesota say that remains found in a shallow grave this weekend are those of a 24-year-old woman who had been missing since May.
Eden Prairie police confirmed Sunday that the remains found in a park along the Mississippi River north of Sartell are those of Mandy Matula. A hiker found the remains Saturday. Police said that autopsy results indicated that she died of a single gunshot wound to the head.
Matula's father, Wayne, told KMSP-TV that a University of Minnesota-Duluth pullover with the number 14 was found at the site. Mandy wore that number when she played for the college's softball team before graduating in 2011. Her class ring from Eden Prairie High School was also recovered.
The detail about the gunshot was based on findings from the Ramsey County medical examiner's office. Eden Prairie Police Chief Rob Reynolds, said it's believed that Matula was shot and killed in Eden Prairie.
The Eden Prairie woman was last seen leaving her home May 1 with her ex-boyfriend, David Roe. Roe fatally shot himself in the head in an Eden Prairie police parking lot the next day after he was called in for questioning.
The park where Matula's remains were found is about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It had been a focal point of the search for her after police traced the signal from her cellphone to the area.
Steven Matula, Mandy's brother, who led several searches there, said the family never gave up hope of finding her, though they didn't know when it would happen.
"I was praying to God it was going to be before winter because that would have been ugly," he told WCCO Radio.
Steven Matula expressed no bitterness toward Roe, even though he presumes he somehow caused his sister's death, and he extended sympathy to Roe's family.
"This may have put a bad image on Dave, but Dave, he was such a really good guy. He was a sweetheart. He was a good brother, good friend, a mentor just like Mandy. ... No one would have ever expected for this to happen from him," he said.
The Matula family plans to have a funeral soon at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.