Family of Amanda Engst 'hurt, shocked' after FBI declares death a homicide
SPIRIT LAKE RESERVATION - For the first time since discovering a woman's body near the Spirit Lake Reservation, investigators are publicly calling Amanda Engst's death a murder.
SPIRIT LAKE RESERVATION - For the first time since discovering a woman's body near the Spirit Lake Reservation, investigators are publicly calling Amanda Engst's death a murder .
WDAY spoke with Amanda Engst's family Thursday. They say they're appalled anyone would hurt her and frustrated with the lack of answers.
"We're hurt, shocked, trying to figure out why," said Michael Engst, Amanda's estranged husband.
It's a sentiment shared amongst Amanda Engst's family and friends.
Amanda and her husband Michael separated before she went missing. Despite any differences he remembers her as a generous person.
"Her smile, her laugh. If there was something wrong, she would want to try to fix it," said Engst.
Amanda's family last had contact with her in October. They reported her missing in November.
Investigators received a tip and divers recovered Engst's body in the Sheyenne River in early February.
Immediately, they called the death suspicious. Now the FBI says it was likely a homicide.
"Now that we have come public with the fact that we believe it is a homicide, we're proceeding with the investigation under that belief that in fact this was a homicide," said Kyle Loven, FBI spokesman.
Agencies are investigating a possible link between Engst's disappearance and a string of robberies.
Police arrested Billy Joe Herman and Crystal Herman in Engst's car a week before finding her body.
The couple was sentenced for a Buxton robbery. And they're still facing robbery charges in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Engst is originally from Breckenridge, and family believes she lived near Halstad in the months before disappearing.
She also spent time in Fargo where WDAY interviewed her in 2014. She talked with a reporter when a bus driver left her kindergarten son unattended on the school bus.
Michael Engst says Amanda's three young children are still coming to terms with their mother's death.
"They don't know what to think, you know," said Engst. "One day they have their mother and then she's gone. They really miss her."
He hopes answers arrive soon and give everyone closure.
"It's just a waiting game for the police and the FBI to figure out who and why and bring them to justice."
The FBI is assisting the Eddy County Sheriff's Office and other agencies in a joint investigation.