Candlelight vigil held for woman found dead in Isanti County as questions linger in case

It was an emotional evening for many people in Isanti, as just days after the search for a missing woman ended in a tragic discovery, the community came together to honor Amanda Vangrinsven.

A candlelight vigil for Vangrinsven took place for people to remember her life and spirit as police continue investigating her death.

In life, Amanda Jo Vangrinsven was known as the person to bring everyone together, and even in death, she is doing the same thing outside the VFW in Isanti.

"It's hard knowing this is one of the last places she was alive," said Niquia Whittet, who assisted in the search for Vangrinsven. "You want it to be happy, but it's definitely overwhelming and very sad."

Last week, Vangrinsven left the VFW - where she worked - with a man to go to another bar in Bethel. After she didn't show up for work the next day, volunteers scoured the area for any clues about her disappearance until law enforcement found her body late Tuesday night on a farm property in Athens Township.

"It's had a huge impact," said vigil organizer Nathan Kadlec. "It's small-town USA up here and it struck the community right at its heart."

Amanda's family asked anyone who came to a vigil Friday night to wear a pink or camouflage shirt and a baseball cap in her honor because that's what she liked to wear.

Community members also wrote messages on paper bags that were turned into luminaries to light a path in the park next door.

"Our world is destroyed and we will have to every day try to make sense of life without Amanda," said Amanda's sister Jennifer Plowman. "We are sad we are heartbroken. We are confused, we are angry and so much more."

By remembering Amanda together, organizers hope her family and community can begin to heal.