Police say they believe missing University of Minnesota student Anarae Schunk, 20, was murdered. But her family is still searching for answers.
Late Friday night, Burnsville police found Schunk’s jacket covered in blood with 18 to 20 holes that appeared to be from stab wounds, according to her brother, Tyson Schunk.
The same night, police told Schunk’s family they believe she is dead. Burnsville police released a statement Saturday saying Schunk may have been killed, but they will continue searching for her.
“Unless I’m looking at a body, I don’t believe it,” Tyson Schunk said.
Anarae Schunk was reported missing last Monday. She was last seen with her ex-boyfriend, Anthony Lee Nelson, and his current girlfriend following a lethal shooting in Burnsville early last Sunday.
Nelson and his girlfriend, Ashley Conrade, are in jail and have been charged in connection with the shooting.
Schunk’s family is asking for help in its search using the Facebook page “Please Help Find Anarae Schunk.” The family posted a map of an area around Pickerel Lake in Lilydale, Minn., on Sunday.
Comments on the map, apparently from Schunk’s family, said police had not searched the area. Burnsville police have not released any details of their search.
Although Tyson Schunk said the family is frustrated with the limited information, they want to focus on finding Schunk and talking about her as a passionate, smart and caring person.
“She was the kind of person who wanted to help everyone,” Tyson Schunk said.
Missing more than a week
Anarae Kristine Schunk was last seen early the morning of Sept. 22 when Nelson, 31, allegedly shot and killed a man outside a Burnsville restaurant, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in Dakota County District Court.
Nelson allegedly shot 23-year-old Palagor Obang Jobi eight times in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill. They began fighting because Jobi had been talking with Conrade before the shooting, the complaint said.
Nelson, also known as Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, was charged Thursday with second-degree murder. His bail is set at $2 million.
Schunk is not a suspect in the shooting.
Conrade, 24, told police she, Nelson and Schunk went to Conrade’s Rosemount home after the shooting, according to the complaint.
Neither Nelson nor Conrade have given police any information about Schunk’s whereabouts after that, according to Saturday’s statement.
Conrade was charged with harboring Nelson in her home until his arrest Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint. She was charged with one felony count of aiding an offender. Her bail is set at $250,000.
Schunk’s ‘weak spot’
Schunk’s family and friends said she met with Nelson last Saturday to retrieve $5,000 she had loaned him while they were dating last year.
Schunk broke up with Nelson around Thanksgiving after learning he was in a relationship with another woman — not Conrade — whom he was living with.
Schunk didn’t have any contact with Nelson until July, when he emailed her saying he wanted to repay the money he borrowed, Schunk’s longtime friend Sarah McNulty said.
Schunk’s mother, Mariana Schunk, said the family didn’t trust Nelson when the two started dating last year.
“He knew what kind of women to prey upon,” she said Friday evening. “And as intelligent as she is, he knew her weak spot and could bring her down low and in that way gain the power over her.”
Anarae Schunk’s family had long talks with her about the dangers of dating Nelson after they learned he had a criminal past, Tyson Schunk said.
Nelson was convicted of first-degree aggravated robbery and served time in prison, according to police records.
Schunk always reached out to outcasts, McNulty said, even if they could be dangerous.
But McNulty said Schunk didn’t fear Nelson.
“She always looked for the light inside of people,” McNulty said. “She said that when she talked to him, she was able to see that.”
A passion to learn, live
Schunk is a graduate of Burnsville High School, where she excelled in mathematics and played competitive chess, a love of hers since kindergarten.
She was also passionate about education reform and had recently studied abroad to learn about Germany’s education system, her mother said.
Schunk was pursuing a sociology degree and hoped to teach English abroad after graduation.
“She was the smartest person I’ve ever met,” McNulty said.
Schunk put her heart into everything she was involved in, her family and friends said. Daily reminders reading, “Be excited,” “Create success” and “Be passionate” cover the walls of her Burnsville bedroom.
“There’s a quote she would always say,” McNulty said. “‘As long as you’re living and breathing, you better be fighting.’”
Burnsville police are asking anyone with information to call 952-895-4636.