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In 2007, court documents show, a previous girlfriend filed a restraining order against Roe after the 6-foot-2 football player allegedly punched her in the stomach and stalked her after their relationship ended.
Four days before Roe met Matula that final time, he bought a gun, practicing at a shooting range the day before. Police have since found Matula’s blood on a jacket in Roe’s car and an unfired bullet near a church by her home, confirmed to be from the same gun he used.
Roe, who was studying criminal justice in St. Cloud, told police the couple was going through “tough times,” but were working through it. Hours later, he shot himself, leaving a Post-it note on his car about a goodbye video he left for his younger brother.
A new mission
Now, Steven Matula has come to realize that many of the questions in his sister’s case may remain forever unanswered. But since seeing Kira Steger’s parents plead for the public’s help in finding her body, he has a new mission: help families going through the kind of acute but ambiguous grief that only a few families like his truly understand.
“I’m just trying to put more faith in humanity,” he said.
He started a Facebook group to help others that he hopes to eventually formalize, showing up with several group members in their neon yellow shirts recently at a memorial for a missing Elk River toddler.
“Have you heard of the missing girl from Eden Prairie?” he said then. “I’m the brother.”
‘A spirit to give back’
It’s a motivation that David Francis said is common among families of missing loved ones. After their 24-year-old son disappeared in the Sawtooth Mountains, he and his wife started the Jon Francis Foundation, encouraged by Patty Wetterling.
“A lot of foundations rise out of personal tragedy in a spirit to give back,” he said. “Our motivation was to pay it forward.”
That’s now Steven Matula’s newfound passion, finding strength in the continued search for his beloved sister and other Twin Cities missing women. “Why should it stop after Mandy is found?” he said. “I’ll still be here for everybody’s families.”
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141