The family of Mandy Matula, the Minnesota woman who went missing in the spring and whose remains were found in Mississippi over the weekend, visited Mississippi River Park on Monday to remember her.
"The sun was out, shining through the trees. The site where Mandy was found -- very peaceful and soothing," Matula’s brother, Steven Matula, told My Fox Twin Cities.
Matula, a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, went missing May 1. Her body was found Sunday by a hiker in Mississippi River Park – about 90 miles from Matula’s home in Eden Prairie, Minn. Authorities said evidence showed Matula was shot and an autopsy determined that she died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to CBS Minnesota.
Matula’s ex-boyfriend, David Roe, was scheduled to meet with police about Matula’s disappearance when he shot himself in his car, which was parked in the lot of the Eden Prairie Police Department, on May 2.
Police believe Roe shot Matula in Eden Prairie and then buried her body in Mississippi River Park, according to Pioneer Press. He was the only suspect in Matula’s death.
After months of uncertainty, Matula’s family said her body being discovered has brought both grief and closure.
"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," her brother said to Pioneer Press. "It's a lot of weight taken off my shoulders."
He added to CBS Minnesota, ““We’re all at different levels of emotion right now. I’m at the happy stage because this journey has finally came to an end. We can finally have Mandy at rest, a lot of weight has been taken off my shoulders.”
The family erected a memorial for Matula at the spot where her body was found.
"A lot of silence, of just looking and thinking and praying," is how Matula’s father, Wayne Matula, described the remembrance to My Fox Twin Cities. "We lost a daughter; we lost a sister. It's going to take time for healing, to totally understand the circumstances of what has transpired.”