GRANITE FALLS - Kara Monson's surviving family members are focused on celebrating her life at a memorial being held this morning at the Granite Falls Lutheran Church in Granite Falls, but also remain vigilant in seeking justice for her murder.
"Our family is grieving the loss of Kara,'' said her mother, Patrice Monson of Granite Falls, in a statement on Monday afternoon. "I would like to thank the public for their concern and outpouring of support."
"But we cannot rest until Andy (Dikken) comes forward,'' she stated.
Law enforcement agencies are continuing an active search for Andrew Joseph Dikken, 28, of Granite Falls and formerly of Renville. He is being sought in the Sept. 2 shooting death of Kara Monson, 26, and Christopher Panitzke, 28, formerly of Redwood Falls. Panitzke died Sunday at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.
Monson and Panitzke were shot in their Granite Falls home. Monson died at the scene, but Panitzke was able to make a 911 call to summon help.
Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten said Monday that local law enforcement agencies are continuing their search and are following up on all tips provided by the public.
Patrice Monson said it would be her late daughter's wish that justice is served so that both families can grieve in peace. "We need to be able to put our lives back together without living in constant fear,'' she stated.
Both Monson and Panitzke were parents to young daughters.
"We want to see both Kara's and Chris's daughters have as normal a life as possible," Patrice Monson said in her statement.
She said that her granddaughter, Poppy, cannot have the support of her family at this time "because we are afraid and we're trying to protect her.''
"We don't want to be afraid for the rest of our lives. We are extremely worried for Chris's family as well.''
Kara Monson will be remembered in today's service as a loving person and especially, as a devoted mother, according to Eric Monson, a first cousin. "She was just amazingly devoted. Really fought for the best for her daughter,'' said Monson.
Emily Aus, also a first cousin, said the family is focusing on celebrating her life, despite how incredibly difficult a time this is for everyone.
"I just know everyone will feel some peace if there is justice,'' said Aus.
Full text of statement issued by Patrice Monson, mother to homicide victim Kara Monson.
"Our family is grieving the loss of Kara. I would like to thank the public for their concern and outpouring of support. But we cannot rest until Andy comes forward. We still need the public's help.
Please continue to look for Andy and if you have any information, please contact the police.
Kara was a very loving person who touched many people's lives. And it would be her wish that justice would be served for her and Chris so that everyone's families can grieve in peace.
We need to be able to put our lives back together without living in constant fear.
We want to see both Kara's and Chris's daughters have as normal a life as possible.
Poppy can't really have the support of her family because we are afraid and we're trying to protect her.
We don't want to be afraid for the rest of our lives.
We are extremely worried for Chris's family as well."