EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - News on Sunday that the remains of Mandy Matula were indeed found in a Stearns County park on Saturday was bittersweet for the family.
"We finally have a conclusion that Mandy is on her way home," said Steven Matula.
Eden Prairie Police received confirmation on Sunday from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner that the human remains found on Saturday in Stearns County are those of Mandy Matula.
Steven Matula told KARE 11 that Mandy's softball sweatshirt and class ring were also found in Mississippi River Park in Sartell on Saturday. A passing hiker found the items and a shallow grave that contained Mandy's remains.
On Sunday, the Medical Examiner reached out to Eden Prairie police with word that the body was Mandy. Police met with the family on Sunday afternoon, and they have announced a news conference for 7 p.m. on Sunday.
"Every month got longer and longer, but I kept telling myself everyday is another day sooner," said Steven Matula.
The discovery does bring some closure to this 6 month ordeal, but, it won't end Steven Matula's mission to help other families in similar positions.
His organization Minnesota United, a group that has assisted in the search for other missing Minesotans, will continue.
"I'm hoping no one else goes missing, but there will always be that case and when it comes, we will open arms to them," he said. "Talk to us, and we'll help you."
Hundreds helped to look for Mandy since she went missing on May 1. Several groups even searched Mississippi River Park, but with thick trees and dozens of trails, finding her was a challenge.
Now that the search is over, family says it can finally begin the healing process. The family said that funeral services will be held at Grace Church on Nov. 9.
"(A) bunch of weight taken off my shoulders," Steven Matula said. "A lot of relief, I'm happy that Mandy can finally come home ... All you can think about is good times from now on, carry them with you wherever you go."
Matula disappeared May 1 from Eden Prairie. Her ex-boyfriend David Roe, the primary focus of police, took his own life before he could be questioned.
"We know this is tough for David's family, too, and our hearts are with them," said Mandy's brother Steven Matula.
Investigators said Roe was in a relationship with Matula, but say that relationship ended not long before Matula was last seen.
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