Authorities found Danielle Jelinek's body five months after the 27-year-old Oakdale woman disappeared, and on the 38th wedding anniversary of her parents, the Star Tribune reports.
For Jan and Ed Jelinek, of Cottage Grove, a long, torturous chapter in their lives had closed, but other difficult chapters remain for the close-knit family, the newspaper reports.
“She’s now home — that’s all we were praying for,” Jan Jelinek told the newspaper. “We all wanted this day in one sense, but we also knew it would be a very hard day.”
The family has been left exhausted by array of emotions in recent months: hopeful, frustrated, angry, anguished. Jelinek's sister Cory said the Friday discovery of her sibling's body in a swampy area of Chisago County confirmed their worst nightmare, the Star Tribune reported. “To think of her lying out there in that swamp for the past six months — it just breaks my heart,” she told the newspaper.
The family now faces anew their questions about what happened the night Jelinek went missing in December. She was last with Aaron Schnagl, described as an on-again, off-again boyfriend now serving a sentence on drug charges who remains a “person of interest” in the Jelinek case. Jelinek's body was found not far from Schnagl's home.