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Continued: Documents closing Matula case offer harrowing, poignant details

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 12, 2014 - 6:01 AM

At 2:57 a.m., phone records show Roe disabled both his and Mandy’s Facebook accounts. At 3:17 a.m., he downloaded a police scanner app on his iPhone. At 3:33 a.m., he used a flashlight app on his iPhone and left Eden Prairie. At 3:54 a.m., he stopped at a Maple Grove BP to fill up on gas, shown on surveillance cameras as the only occupant.

At 5:50 a.m., his phone was tracked near the Mississippi River Park in Rice, where Roe lived in 2010-11 while studying at St. Cloud State University, and the park where he’d fish.

By 6:45 a.m., Matula’s parents reported Mandy missing.

By 7:53 a.m., Roe’s phone was detected back in Victoria, where he lived. At 9:54 a.m., he made a goodbye video for his younger brother, later leaving a Post-it note on his car asking police to give the video to his brother. And at 10 a.m., he downloaded a Bible app.

At 12:50 a.m., Roe told police he was scared and that as a criminal justice student, he knew he was a person of interest and feared being arrested.

Police followed him to the station, where surveillance cameras captured Roe putting the pistol to his head at 1:30 p.m. An autopsy determined he was extremely intoxicated.

His death and Mandy’s disappearance shocked his family and friends, one saying: “We always knew David was a little bit on edge sometimes, but realistically, we never thought he’d be capable of something like this.”

Searching across the metro

From that day on, police received numerous tips. But they remained convinced she was at Mississippi River County Park because mud in the wheel wells of Roe’s car matched park soil and his phone was tracked there. From May 3 until October, officers from multiple agencies, search experts and Matula’s brother, Steven, searched there. Nothing was found.

On Oct. 26, a Sartell man hiking in the woods noticed a blanket sticking out of the ground. In a shallow grave, Matula’s body had been wrapped in the blanket, her head covered with a plastic bag, secured with duct tape. She had been shot once in the back of her head.

The remains had to be identified through dental records, but authorities knew immediately it was Matula. She wore a sweatshirt embroidered with the emblem of her alma mater, the University of Minnesota Duluth. Also in the grave was an Eden Prairie High School class ring with engravings: “2007” and “Mandy.”

That discovery, and now the documents’ release, answers many questions about what happened. But for family and friends, like those of so many domestic violence victims, there is no true answer to the question of why.


Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

Twitter: @kellystrib

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