Six days after 20-year-old Anarae Schunk disappeared, police said Saturday that they have evidence that she is dead.
Police declined to identify the evidence, but said that they are continuing to search for the Burnsville woman’s body.
It was confirmation of “the worst,” her family said Saturday after holding out hope all week that the University of Minnesota student was hiding in fear of her felon ex-boyfriend, who remains in jail on charges of killing another man.
“It’s gut-wrenching,” said her brother Tyson Schunk, who was with other family members Saturday. “It’s hard to stomach. But we’re here together.”
Police went to their home late Friday night and when asked how certain they were that Schunk was dead, they said, “we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t 100 percent,” Tyson Schunk said.
There are many unanswered questions, but the family said they’re trying to focus on the positive mark Schunk left as a mentor, U sociology student and graduate of Burnsville High School, where she excelled at math and chess and played tenor sax in the marching band. She had recently returned from a trip to Germany where she was studying the education system.
“She really was driven to improve the process … and make a difference in the world, especially with young people,” her brother said.
The family used a Facebook page, which had been dedicated to finding Schunk, to thank the community Saturday for all the support. The page will remain up so family and friends can share their tributes. They’re also collecting donations at an Anarae Schunk Fund set up at all U.S. Bank locations.
Last seen in Burnsville
Schunk was last seen at Nina’s Grill in Burnsville last Saturday with her ex-boyfriend, Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, also known as Anthony Lee Nelson. They had broken up nearly a year ago but she had reconnected with him to try to get back $5,000 she had loaned him, friends say.
Police say that just before 2 a.m. Sunday, Nelson, 31, of Eagan, fatally shot Palagor Obang Jobi, 23, of Savage, eight times in the parking lot after they’d gotten in a fight. Police say Nelson was angry that Jobi was talking to his girlfriend, Ashley M. Conrade, 24.
Conrade was charged this week with one felony count of aiding an offender for allegedly harboring Nelson at her Rosemount townhouse until his arrest Tuesday. Murder charges were filed Thursday against Nelson. Neither of them nor any other witnesses have given police any information about Schunk’s whereabouts.
Police said Schunk went with the two to the townhouse, but Nelson and Conrade won’t say where she went after that. Her cellphone was turned off about 9 p.m. Saturday, and there’s been no activity in her bank or credit card accounts.
Nelson was released from prison at the end of 2011 after serving time for first-degree aggravated robbery and was on supervised release until May 25. He was on probation until 2014 for a misdemeanor conviction for driving with a suspended license and giving false information to police, according to records. He also has convictions for drug sales and possession of a weapon by an ineligible person.
Schunk started dating him while he was on supervised release, but ended it last Thanksgiving when she learned that he was living with a woman — not Conrade — and that he had a child with her. She often befriended social outcasts, family members say, and thought she could help Nelson turn his life around.
Anyone with any information should call Burnsville police at 952-895-4636.