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Published November 11, 2013, 07:13 PM

60 on 6: The Dru Sjodin story

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are coming up on the 10-year anniversary of a horrific crime here in North Dakota: The kidnapping and murder of UND college student Dru Sjodin.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We are coming up on the 10-year anniversary of a horrific crime here in North Dakota: The kidnapping and murder of UND college student Dru Sjodin.

The story made national headlines as volunteers searched for the missing 22-year-old, after she disappeared suddenly, while talking with her boyfriend on the phone.

As part of our special 60th anniversary, we are taking a look back at stories that changed us.

When someone met her, they did not forget her.

She just loved everybody and everybody loved her.

Those who knew Dru best, her family, talk of a creative, loving soul.

“She just had a tremendous zest for life.”

And so it was no surprise that on Nov 22nd of 2003, thousands would turn out to search for the missing UND student who went missing as she walked to her car at the mall in Grand Forks. Talking on the phone with her boyfriend, she said, ‘no, no, no,’ and the line went dead. She would never be heard from again.

Days after her disappearance, convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez of Crookston, would be charged with abducting Dru. Months later, her body would be found not far from where he lived.

Chris Lang- Dru’s Boyfriend: “And I know she is at peace and I have known that, but she is smiling down and saying, ‘bring me home.’”

Hundreds would attend the funeral of Dru.

She had such a perspective on life, and people.

A federal grand jury then charged Rodriguez with her murder. He would be the face of ND's first ever federal death penalty case.

Drew Wrigley- US Attorney: “Your strength has inspired all of us; everyone. It has gripped the people in our communities.”

In a high-profile, emotionally-charged trial, jurors found Rodriguez guilty of Dru's murder. He was sentenced to death.

“There is not a minute of the day when I don't have that overwhelming void.”

Dru's family talked of the girl who had so much to offer the world. Concerned, caring; missed terribly by those who raised and loved her.

“Her spunk; I always loved her spirit. I miss her hands, as a mother, you hold your daughter's hands.”

Her tragedy sparked the creation of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry. All in hopes of sparing any other family, from a loss like this.

“Just an overwhelming feeling of wanting to see her so much.”

Rodriguez remains on death row in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, where his death penalty conviction is on appeal. A hearing is set for December here in Fargo.

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