On Monday, Mandy Matula's friends and family traveled to Mississippi River Park, in Minnesota, to build a memorial where the 24-year-old's remains were found wrapped inside a blanket over the weekend.
"The sun was out, shining through the trees. The site where Mandy was found -- very peaceful and soothing," said Steven Matula, Mandy's brother.
The group followed the same trail that led the hiker to the shallow grave were the woman was found.
"If you were to walk there now, you'd see a little trail. You'll see balloons. We carved a number 14 into one of the pine trees," her brother added.
Mandy Matula wore the number 14 on the University of Minnesota-Duluth softball team. The jacket she was buried in also had the number.
Wayne Matula, the woman's father, said the journey was filled with "a lot of silence, of just looking and thinking and praying."
The trip put an end to the months spent searching for Mandy Matula following her May 1 disappearance after she left her house with her ex-boyfriend David Roe. Investigators believe Roe murdered her that night shooting her in the head and later burying her body in a shallow grave at the park.
Roe, who took his life before he could be interviewed by investigators, is the only suspect in the woman's death. Police plan to keep the case open.
"It's not the ending that we wanted because we want Mandy back," said neighbor Patty Wenzel, one of the numerous volunteers who turned out to help with the search.
"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," Wayne Matula said.
A funeral for Mandy Matula will be held at Grace Church in Eden Prairie on Nov. 9.
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