Have you seen a TV crew walking around Valley City today? They are here filming segments for a TV episode focusing on Mindy Morgenstern and her history in Valley City. The episode will be airing as part of the 3rd season of Investigation Discovery's series Murder in the Heartland this summer.
The show's producer spoke with Valley City media this week, sharing about the episode and his experience in North Dakota. The film crew just wrapped up filming in Valley City and are now headed to New Salem, Mindy's hometown, to continue their project. Stay tuned for more.
*Below is an article that published in the June 25th, 2019 Times-Record about the book "Mindy," written by her mother, Eunice*
13 Years Later – Mindy Morgenstern Remembered in New Book
Mindy Morgenstern was just months away from graduating Valley City State University when her life was cut short, the aftermath of which echoed through the state.
One way Mindy’s mother, Eunice, coped was by journaling. She wrote anything on her heart in the days, months and years following her daughter’s murder, and the notebook grew fuller and fuller.
Then, with encouragement and support from family and friends, Eunice made the decision to begin putting her writings into a book.
“It took me a long time (to finish it), but I wasn’t setting out to write or publish a book,” Eunice says. “I wanted my family to have something to remember Mindy by. It was going to be just a family book, but it developed into a little bit more.”
It’s not hard to imagine that writing her thoughts and memories was difficult at times, but Eunice says that she found healing in the process.
“It did bring back days in the courtroom at the trials and hearing the news,” she says, recalling the day a policeman knocked on her door. “Sometimes I think about that. That was probably one of the hardest memories. But writing the book helped me with my grieving. There were some bitter feelings—I wrote all about them. Then I’d think of something, like a memory of Mindy when she was a baby, and that really helped a lot.”
That was the best part of writing and publishing the book, Eunice recalls: remembering Mindy and sharing the story of her life and faith. She hopes that her words can offer someone else struggling.
“She had a strong faith, so I hope that it’ll help people in their trials as it points to faith,” Eunice says. “Mindy always went to church. She went to the Nazarene Church when she was at school in Valley City.”
Their family was a religious one, not only in a church-going sense, but also in that they had what Eunice says was a personal relationship with Jesus.
“Mindy just loved Jesus so much, wore it on her sleeve and shared with other people,” Eunice says. “She never worried what other people would think. She was herself. And for us, faith was our rock.”
Eunice ponders what it would have been like to be without faith in God in the aftermath of Mindy’s death.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened,” she says. “Jesus was real to us and real to Mindy. That’s where we got our strength. The Lord is our strength and shield. If we wouldn’t have had any belief, I just can’t imagine what it would’ve been like.”
And that faith never wavered for Eunice, even on the hardest days. She says that her faith was always an incredible comfort and that she and her family had never questioned “why Mindy?”
Mindy was active in the Valley City community during her time at VCSU. She coached youth basketball, worked as a lifeguard, helped at her church, and waited tables at Robbie’s. She also spent time working at one of the drug stores in town.
“She liked the people and loved working,” Eunice says. “When she was at the drug store, she got to deliver medicine up to the nursing home, and I think she loved going and visiting the residents there. I think that left an impact and I hope that her time at her church and time coaching left an impact.”
Her animated personality clearly left an impact on those she knew. A gentleman approached Eunice while she was in Valley City, saying “my kids had Mindy for a lifeguard and they really loved her.”
Mindy also had many close friends in Valley City, friends who often send her family Christmas cards each year.
A Valley City memorial garden was established in 2007 to honor Mindy, which people can still visit. The first memory book that was there served as a way for people to share memories about Mindy. When the book was sent to her parents, they found beautiful thoughts and memories in its pages. You can visit the memorial garden at the corner of 9th St NE and 5th Ave NE in Valley City, just across the road from the Hi-Line Prairie Gardens & Orchard.
Now that Eunice’s book “Mindy” is on shelves around the state, she has not only given a permanent space in which to hold memories of Mindy as words on a page, but also has her first experience in publishing under her belt.
“The publishing process was very interesting,” Eunice says. “I didn’t know anything about publishing, and we learned as we went along—did some research, asked some questions.
They used Image Printing in Bismarck to publish, and Eunice says they did excellent work.
“They did a lot of proofreading for us, printed sample copies and they did a wonderful job on the cover.”
It’s been 13 years since Mindy died, and Eunice’s book is working to ensure that the memory of her life, kind heart and strong faith never fades with the passing of time.
“I wrote it mainly to give honor to god and to Mindy,” Eunice says. “The book is a way to remember and share her story.”
“Mindy” is available at the Eagles Nest Bookstore, Barnes County Public Library and The Vault in Valley City as well as in New Salem and Bismarck’s Rainbow Shop.