Hundreds Gather For Dru's Funeral

Dru Sjodin
CBS/EARLY SHOW
Thousands of people helped search for Dru Sjodin when the University of North Dakota student went missing last November. Today, hundreds gathered to say goodbye.

About 500 mourners packed a resort lodge in Nisswa, Minnesota, one of the few places in the area large enough to hold such a crowd. About one thousand more filled two overflow tents.

Sjodin, who is from Pequot Lakes, was found dead last Saturday after disappearing from a Grand Forks, North Dakota shopping mall parking lot in November. Alfonso Rodriguez Junior is charged with kidnapping her.

Pastor Mark Anderson told mourners that the community moved from shock when Sjodin disappeared, to anger, to fear. He says in the end, they "became a community of sorrow."

The mourners included many people who didn't know Sjodin personally, and several law enforcement officers. Also in attendance were Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and North Dakota Governor John Hoeven.

The body of Sjodin was found near a county road northwest of Crookston, about five months after she was last seen.

The area where the body was found had been searched before.

"Everything was right, if you will, for finding Dru," boyfriend Chris Lang said last Monday on CBS News' The Early Show. "All the snow is gone. It's a new landscape. You can see everything.

"With the weather change in the spring here, it revealed Dru," Lang told co-anchor René Syler.

Legal experts say the case against Rodriguez is likely to wind up in federal court, where prosecutors could seek the death penalty. The question is whether U.S. attorneys from Minnesota or North Dakota would handle the case.

Because Sjodin's body was discovered in Minnesota, the case could bring a federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death, said Richard Frase, criminal law professor at the University of Minnesota.

"I think it will go federal," Frase said. "Then it's just a question of venue."

David Lillehaug, former U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said prosecutors should decide which state has a greater connection to the crime. The fact that the alleged abduction took place in North Dakota and that Sjodin was living in North Dakota could put the trial there, he said.