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Family And Neighbors Remember Homicide Victim

March 19, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Family And Neighbors Remember Homicide Victim
Kari Kirkegaard

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

For those who knew Kari Kirkegaard the best, her death is still very hard to handle.

"I don't think it's sunk in on any of us, you know? You wake up in the morning and you start to think 'Oh my God, this is a nightmare.' It's real," Kirkegaard's cousin David Gabriel said.

A neighborhood joins as one to mourn her loss and to remember how much of an impact she had on their lives.

"When a tragedy happens and people are hurting, it's a raw thing right now for people, then you come together. The words aren't necessarily important, but you stand together," vigil organizer JoAnn Wagner said.

Gabriel considered Kari his best buddy, both looking to spend as much time together as possible.

"She brought laughs. She led with her humor, not with bitterness and I'll always admire her. I enjoyed being around her," Gabriel said.

Gabriel and the entire family makes it a point to spend plenty of time together, especially for dinner. He was with Kirkegaard at a Pizza Ranch last Friday and says he will always remember their last moment together.

"I'm very thankful when she was leaving; I gave her a hug and told her I loved her. I never dreamt what she was driving off to, you know?" Gabriel said.

Their family is now relying on the support of everyone around them as they move forward in their lives.

"We probably will never know why it happened. It's something that happened and we cannot understand, we can only come together and support one another," Wagner said.

Gabriel says his cousin had one of the biggest hearts of anyone he knew. For everything she went through in life with her battle with cancer, she never grew bitter. She instead became even more kind and generous to others.

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