NEVIS, Minn. (Valley News Live) - A murder in a small Minnesota town left a deep scar on a family and an entire community, scars that remain tender.
Two sisters, Heidi Pierce and Candi Goochey, were killed by their brother-in-law Bryce Bellomo, who later took his own life after a shoot-out with police, according to law enforcement.
For the first time since that horrific crime, family members are speaking to Valley News Live in an exclusive interview of how hard the grieving process has been over the last year.
Joe Pierce showed us pictures of his wife Heidi.
“The new normal, Joe and the four kids,” his sister Bonnie Carter said.
She was 40 years old when she died at the hands of Bellomo last year on Valentine's Day.
“She was happy,” Carter said.
Pierce added, “She was really happy."
“So this is very hard,” Carter said.
For Pierce and Carter, the pain of the loss still lingers.
“You come home and you cry all night. This has been so hard on us, the whole family is just distraught still,” Carter said.
Heidi left behind four children, her 37-year-old sister Candi Goochey was also murdered on that same night.
Bellomo led Hubbard County deputies on a chase, firing several shots before authorities said he killed himself.
Pierce said the state paid for the sisters’ funerals since they were victims of domestic violence.
Yet, part of the reason the family is having trouble grieving is because of a dispute over funds raised immediately after the deaths.
“I never thought it would turn out like this,” Pierce said.
It prompted the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office to launch an investigation last June, which it closed last week.
Investigators found nearly $80,000 in a bank account and Pierce said he hasn't seen a dime.
“I know donors have come to Joe and said you know, the community helped you...gave all this donation and meal money and stuff, and Joe's like, I didn't get any of the fundraisers,” Carter said.
Deputies told us this is a civil dispute and not criminal.
“I lost a whole income and I got bills to pay, they don't stop,” Pierce said. “And I needed the money now to help support my family.”
Most of the funds were collected on GoFundme and at several events, by another family member who has since moved out of state, according to Pierce.
Pierce said he appreciates all the support from the community as the family of the victims work to chart a path forward from this horrific crime.
The family member who collected the $80,000 hasn't spent it, according to the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, but also hasn't turned it over to the victims.
Joe Pierce said they're looking to hire a lawyer to get the money people donated.