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Published October 15, 2009, 10:23 PM

Gina's Family Ready to Say Goodbye

Gina Anderson's family is preparing to lay her to rest after she was discovered in the Red Lake River yesterday.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

A Thief River Falls family is preparing to lay their daughter to rest after her body was found yesterday.

Authorities found the body of missing Gina Anderson Wednesday during a search of the Red Lake River.

Today, her family says they're glad to finally have closure.

Next Friday would've marked one year since Gina was last seen.

The family says the idea of going through another winter with virtually no clues would've been devastating.

It was a phone call Gina Anderson's family expected but couldn't possibly plan for. Yesterday, as Gina's car was fished from the Red Lake River, a family that had waited a year for signs of their daughter, once again had to wait hours for confirmation she was inside.

Jeremy Anderson/ Gina's Husband: "The hours seemed like days, it took what seemed like forever."

Steve Lappegaard/ Gina's Dad: "Your head is spinning 100 miles an hour trying to figure out what happened and you come up with all kinds of scenarios that would, of course, you always think of the worst."

The family was told that Gina's body was in the car. Lowering the river level allowed authorities to find her yellow Sunfire in a place where Steve and Jeremy personally searched nine months ago.

Steve Lappegaard/ Gina's Dad: "And what it turned out to be was there was a snowmobile trail, that went down the hill right where it was and there was no sign of a car going down there."

For Gina's family, it means no more private investigators, no more psychics and no more walking the frozen river. But most importantly, no more wondering.

Jackie Pagel/ Gina's Sister: "It'll never be normal ever again, what we have now is going to be new and it's going to hurt for the rest of your life, it's going to be kind of like a post traumatic stress thing that you deal with every day."

The Lappegaard's other daughter Jill also died this year in a car accident. After losing two daughters, it's been hard to stay strong.

Judy Lappegaard/ Gina's Mom: "Jill was the rock and she gave me the rock. I've had to be strong for Jeremy, I've had to be strong for Jack, had to be strong for Steve, my mom, my sister."

Judy says that strength comes from support and prayers from the community. Now she and the rest of the family will focus on giving Gina peace.

Jackie Pagel/ Gina's Sister: "But to know that we're going to be able to bury her appropriately and be able to celebrate her life and know that she's never going to hurt again, so I think it'll be a good thing."

Judy admits she's happy the search for Gina is finally over, but says the holidays are always the most difficult times of the year.

The family will hold a prayer service for Gina on Monday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church.

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday afternoon.

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