Almost 1,000 people packed an auditorium at the Burnsville Performing Arts Center on Sunday afternoon to mourn Anarae Schunk.
The 20-year-old University of Minnesota student disappeared in the early hours of Sept. 22 after she went to Nina’s Grill in Burnsville with her ex-boyfriend, who is accused of shooting a man outside the bar. Schunk’s body was found Sept. 30 in a grassy roadside ditch near Lonsdale, Minn. Rosemount police said last week that they believe she was killed the day she went missing.
Schunk’s family members, childhood friends and high school buddies, teachers and professors from the U sociology department spoke at Sunday’s event. They described her as a thinker, a leader, an educator and a communicator.
“This isn’t how things were supposed to play out,” said Brian Ribnick, her chess coach, mentor and friend. “I had hoped Anarae would be speaking at my memorial someday.”
“I called her an old soul,” he said. “She was good at the game of life. Her belief in me will always be an inspiration.”
The ex-boyfriend, Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, 31, also known as Anthony Lee Nelson, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Palagor Obang Jobi, 23, of Savage. He has a lengthy criminal history and has spent a total of less than four years in the past 14 out of a Minnesota jail or prison.
He is a suspect in Schunk’s death, but police said charges are not expected to be filed for several weeks.
Pat.Pheifer@startribune.com • 952-746-3284