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Back From Montana

- Just got back from Helena last night and wanted to do a quick recap of what happened while we were there:

On Friday morning, we met with the detectives and discussed many aspects of the investigation. Unfortunately I cannot share much, but I can say that we left knowing that they are still pursuing this, on a weekly basis, and are every bit as committed as we are to getting justice for Mike. After that, we went to the Christian Reform Church, who had graciously allowed us to have our estate sale in their parking lot because it was a high traffic area. Before we could even fully unload, we had dozens of people, non-stop, until around 6:00 PM. It was really hard getting rid of some of the things, but we really needed to get the house in order and quite frankly estate lawyer fees are not cheap! A bonus was that we were able to talk to a lot of people about Mike, and many knew of the ongoing investigation. People were genuinely concerned and interested, so of course we talked as much as we could, in order to get the word out.

On Saturday we had the sale again, for most of the day, and had just as much business. Mom and I got burnt to a crisp, while Tim and Cindy had the pleasure of doing dump runs. Not a fun day, but again, necessary. On Saturday night, Tim and I decided that we HAD to have a little break, plus wanted to do some of our own sleuthing, so went downtown to the music festival. People must’ve thought us odd, because we truly scoured the crowd, staring, glaring, looking for certain “people of interest” that we could coincidentally run in to. We didn’t see anyone, so ended up having some wonderful junk food and then doing karaoke at a place called the Western Bar. I dedicated my first song to Mike, and had to say that he was murdered, and that if anyone knew anything they should go talk to the police. OK, so karaoke is supposed to be fun, and my little public service announcement may have been a buzz-kill, but we did some Cheap Trick later and made up for it.

On Sunday, we went back up to Mike’s to go through more things and decide what should be shipped home. Mike and I shared a love of 80’s obscure music, so I wanted all of his cassette tapes (yes, cassettes, we are old). He had some cool stuff that I barely remembered, like Nitzer Ebb, OXO, Doug and the Slugs. He was truly cutting edge back then and I actually discovered a wealth of great music through him. Mom went through some old personal stuff – he had a bunch of love letters from back in the day!! What a ladies man he was back then. Who woulda thunk it? I mean, you never think of your brother as being cute (ewwwwww) but looking at some old pictures I see what the ladies saw!

On Monday we had arranged for the press to come up – just one TV station and the local paper. We would have talked to them earlier, but the fires stole our thunder! Between the two of them, they took some great footage and spent a lot of time getting to know Mike, his land, and his family. The newscast has already aired, and Melissa Anderson did a great job! She wisely did not show some of the “Connie without a filter” footage and her report was very tastefully done. The newspaper article will run on Sunday, July 8th. Monday night was tough. People had been asking us all along if we were going to have some type of memorial, and Mom was not really into that until recently. Since Mike’s close friends are so spread out, we decided to just do something small. We got balloons with helium and wrote messages on them, on behalf of me, Mom, my son Scott, my sister Donna, my fiancé Tim, and the Danish family. We read the messages, and then let each balloon go, one at a time, from his upper deck, where he has a stunning view. We video taped it on my phone and may post a part of it on this website. It makes me cry just thinking about it now. This was the first time that I witnessed Mom bawling and it broke my heart. I know that she has spent many, many nights alone, crying, mourning, and praying, but to witness it was awful. On the way down, we stopped and talked to Marc, a wonderful man and a great friend and neighbor to Mike. Marc had put up a very nice sign as a memorial to Mike, which I will post on this website later. We shed a few tears together and talked about how sad it was that Marc and his wife were also having to leave their retirement dream because it was too dangerous to stay there.

Tuesday was just tie up the loose ends day. We sold a couple of Mike’s smaller vehicles (they actually got one running – we were shocked) packed our suitcases, and packaged all of the things that we wanted to mail home. All and all we accomplished what we set out to do – make sure that everyone in Helena knows that we will NEVER forget Mike, we will NOT let anyone steal nor abuse his land, and that we will keep coming back……….

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