WILLMAR - The people who knew and loved David Medellin Jr. say the 24-year-old Willmar man was happy, helpful and always had a smile on his face.
"He was so kind to people," said Medellin's mother, Yesenia Alonzo, of Willmar. "He would go out of his way to help people. He loved people."
Medellin's fiancee, Felicia Rodriguez, had similar words.
"He was a really loving family person," Rodriguez said. "He'd stop doing what he was doing to help someone. He'd help anyone."
The two women say they are heartbroken that someone killed the man they both loved dearly.
"I'm going to miss his kisses. His hugs. His voice saying, 'I love you, mom,'" said Alonzo.
"It's hard to wake up every morning and not having him next to me," said Rodriguez.
Medellin's body was found Wednesday afternoon in a plowed farm field east of Willmar.
Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said Friday the death is being investigated as a homicide, although the manner in which Medellin was killed was not revealed.
The Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation with assistance from Willmar Police Department, CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
So far, there's been no new information about the case from law enforcement.
Rodriguez told the West Central Tribune that the last time she heard from Medellin was at 3:42 p.m. on Oct. 24.
He was returning from a job orientation at a dairy near Willmar and was reportedly traveling back home with a friend.
Medellin and Rodriguez had plans to meet.
She said the last text message she got from him said, "OK Babe. I'll be there."
He never showed up and her repeated texts and calls went unanswered.
She and Medellin's family searched familiar hang-outs and called friends but nobody knew where he was.
Rodriguez said she had a "gut feeling" something was wrong but Medellin had disappeared once before. She had reported him missing back then, she said, but was reportedly told that a week had to pass before an adult missing person case could be launched.
"I thought he would come back," said Rodriguez, recalling that it was "love at first sight" when she met Medellin four years ago. "He was so sweet. Honest. He took my breath away."
One week from when Medellin sent that last text, a detective told his family that a body had been found in a field and based on identifying factors, including tattoos, they believed it was Medellin.
"I was so in shock," Rodriguez said. "It's like a nightmare."
Medellin's family is searching for answers.
"I just want justice," said Alonzo. "He didn't deserve to die the way he did. He didn't deserve this. He had a past, but he didn't deserve this."
Medellin had past convictions for assault, drug possession, harassment and violation of a restraining order. Court records show he had served time for an assault in Chippewa County.
"But he wasn't a bad kid," said Alonzo of the oldest of her six children.
She said her son was bullied in school and there were people in his life who had a negative influence on him. But she said Medellin spent time in jail and paid the dues for his crimes and was turning his life around.
"He didn't want to have that life anymore," she said. "I saw a lot of change in him."
Finding out that he was going to be a father to a baby boy early this spring was a huge motivation, said Alonzo.
"He was excited that we would have a child together," Rodriguez said.
Their child is due in March.
Rodriguez said she plans to name him David Medellin III.
The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information or who had contact with Medellin on Oct. 24 or later to contact law enforcement if they have not already been interviewed.