UPDATE: Murder suspect's family expresses empathy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Murder suspect's family expresses empathy

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

According the the Telegraph Herald, downtown Dubuque neighborhood residents are accepting donations to offset burial costs for Nancy Krapfl, who was murdered early Tuesday morning.

Donations will be collected until 8 p.m. 

The Betwell family has released a statement in an email sent to TH Media expressing their condolences. Here's the letter:

We express our deepest condolences and sincere regrets to the family and friends of Nancy Ann Krapfl. No words can adequately express our sorrow and grief for her and her loved ones.

We honor Ms. Krapfl’s memory and the good Christian life she led, caring more about others than herself. It is our deepest wish that a loving God who now cares for her soul will bless those she left behind with peace and a sure hope in life eternal.

We pray for Nancy’s family and hope that they may find peace and healing. We pray that God’s compassion may reach out to all who have been affected and help us understand this senseless tragedy.

— Romen and Naidrik Betwell, of Dubuque, Iowa

According to Ben Jacobson with the Telegraph Herald, the family of a woman killed this week in downtown Dubuque has been “overwhelmed” by the community’s response to the tragedy, including an effort to raise money to offset burial costs.

A rally in memory of Nancy A. Krapfl, 66, of Dubuque, will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday in Jackson Park.

A vigil will follow at a nearby shrine that sprang up in the hours after Krapfl’s death.

“We’re just overwhelmed by the support,” said Mike Krapfl, Nancy Krapfl’s nephew. “We really, really appreciate it. I think Nancy would be shocked by it. She was a really quiet person, a very private person. We’re overwhelmed.”

Meanwhile, the parents of Helmon Betwell — the man accused of sexually assaulting and murdering Krapfl — have released a statement expressing condolences.

“No words can adequately express our sorrow and grief for (Krapfl) and her loved ones,” Romen and Naidrik Betwell wrote in a letter provided to TH Media.

Police said Krapfl was attacked early Tuesday morning while walking in the area of West 17th and Heeb streets. She was found by police shortly before 6 a.m., but died from her injuries at an area hospital.

Helmon Betwell, 19, of 1763 White St., has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault in the killing. Both charges carry maximum sentences of life in prison.

By Wednesday — before Krapfl was identified as the victim — a small memorial popped up on the steps in front of 75 W. 17th St.

The makeshift shrine since has grown to include flowers, candles, cards and balloons placed there by passersby.

A funeral home memorial book has been filled with more than 30 pages of signatures and sympathy messages from neighborhood residents, most of whom never knew Krapfl.

Jeff Montgomery Sr., vice president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, begin soliciting donations for Krapfl’s family Friday evening.

In the first seven hours, he and other volunteers raised nearly $1,000.

Donations have been coming from across the city and tri-state area, Montgomery said today. Some donors have driven in from Platteville, Wis., or Galena, Ill., just to pay their respects, he said.

“It’s so unbelievable how many people are stopping,” said Montgomery.

Montgomery said Sunday's peace rally is for anyone in the area who wants to make a difference. Attendees will be encouraged to work with local authorities by reporting crimes or suspicious activities.

In their letter, Betwell’s parents wrote that they “honor Ms. Krapfl’s memory and the good Christian life she led.”

“We pray for Nancy’s family and hope that they may find peace and healing,” they wrote. “We pray that God’s compassion may reach out to all who have been affected and help us understand this senseless tragedy.”

Mike Krapfl described the letter from the Betwells as "touching and appreciated." 

“We certainly feel for that family as well,” Mike Krapfl said. “This is devastating to two families. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. Obviously, we’ve been through some sad and shocking days and I’m sure they have too.”

This article was provided by Ben Jacobson with the Telegraph Herald, TH Media.

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