Three years ago today, a 23-year-old New Town woman died in a two-vehicle collision with a tractor-trailer.
However, as her memory lives on, her family is also making an effort to keep the memory of another young woman, Anita Knutson, who lost her life tragically, in the public eye.
The family of Cassi Rensch sued the truck driver and the trucking company involved in the accident that killed their daughter. The case was settled out of court in October 2010, four days prior to trial, for an undisclosed amount.
Knutson, who was killed in her northwest Minot apartment in June 2007, had worked in a retail store at Dakota Square Mall. Rensch was a frequent customer at the store. Both attended Minot State University.
Knutson was 18 years old at the time of her death. Her killer has not been apprehended.
Cassi's mother, Sonya Rensch, said that although the two young women were only acquaintances, Knutson was so friendly that Cassi had taken Sonya to meet Knutson once.
"Anita's death affected Cassi greatly," Sonya Rensch wrote in a personal statement she sent to the Minot Police Department, along with a pledge of $10,000 to be added to the reward fund for information leading to an arrest in Knutson's case. "She mentioned often how much she wished they would apprehend the person that committed this horrific crime."
Sonya Rensch still feels justice was not served in her daughter's case, she said. The truck driver filed for bankruptcy after the settlement instead of going to prison. She said although her family received a settlement in the case, money is not a substitute for justice.
"But if the money could possibly help Anita's family receive justice, that is something," Rensch said.
Coincidentally, she said, Sgt. Steve Kenner was the accident re-constructionist in the crash investigation. Kenner, with the Bismarck Police Department, was shot to death recently while responding to a domestic call.
Lt. Jason Sundbakken of the Minot Police Department said Thursday that the reward fund for Knutson stands at $20,500.
Anyone with information about Knutson's death is asked to contact Minot police at 852-0111.