SARTELL, Minn. – The family of a 24-year-old Eden Prairie woman on Monday visited the central Minnesota park where her body was found over the weekend.
Relatives and friends of Mandy Matula came to the park along the Mississippi River north of Sartell to see for themselves where her remains were discovered. Matula's father, Wayne Matula, described the spot as "beautiful and tranquil."
"For today, what we saw was very tranquil and gave us some closure," he told the St. Cloud Times.
A hiker found Mandy Matula's remains in a shallow grave in the park Saturday. Authorities say she likely died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Matula 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.
Several searches for Matula focused on sites in the St. Cloud area because Roe had been enrolled at St. Cloud State University and his cellphone was traced to central Minnesota the night she went missing, the newspaper reported.
Matula's family and friends had a moment of silence at the park Monday, said prayers and shared stories about her. They created a memorial and left flowers, some in the arrangement of the number 14, which the University of Minnesota Duluth graduate wore as a softball player.
The family sent a letter to the man who found Matula's remains. They hope to meet him one day.
"We are thankful the Lord provided an opportunity for a person to find her," Wayne Matula said.
The Matula family plans to have a funeral soon at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.