SARTELL, Minn. (AP) — Family members of a 24-year-old Minnesota woman who went missing in May said they believe that human remains discovered Saturday in a park north of Sartell are hers.
Authorities haven't confirmed whether the remains found by a hiker in a shallow grave in Mississippi River Park are those of Mandy Matula, but alongside the remains was a University of Minnesota Duluth sweatshirt emblazoned with No. 14, Matula's number when she played on the school's softball team, the Star Tribune reported.
"We believe it's Mandy," her 22-year-old brother, Steven Matula, told the paper from the family's Eden Prairie home. "The closure is finally coming, before winter."
Mandy's father, Wayne Matula, told KSTP-TV that police informed the family about the discovery at about 4 p.m., a few hours after the remains were found.
The park, which is about 70 miles northwest of Minneapolis, had been a focal point of the search effort after Mandy's May 1 disappearance. She was last leaving her home with her ex-boyfriend, David Roe, who fatally shot himself in the head in a police parking lot on May 2. Police had called him in for questioning.
Steven Matula, who led several searches of the park, told the Star Tribune that while his mother and father were devastated by Saturday's discovery, he felt some relief after months of searching area parks and the Mississippi River for his missing sister.
"I'm happy — Mandy is home now," he said.
An autopsy will be performed Sunday and the results will be released Tuesday or Wednesday, Steven Matula said.
Information from: KSTP-TV, http://www.kstp.com