Andrew Dikken charged in Granite Falls, Minn. double murder - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Charges filed in Granite Falls, Minn., double murder; mother relieved

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GRANITE FALLS, Minn. (KMSP) -

Two counts of second-degree murder were filed Tuesday against Andrew Dikken in the fatal shootings of Kara Monson and Christopher Panitzke in Granite Falls, Minn.

Dikken's first court appearance is set for at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Yellow Medicine County courthouse in Granite Falls, one day after the charges revealed that Panitzke told police Dikken was the shooter before he died of his injuries.

Dikken was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Olivia, Minn., after he turned himself in to Renville County deputies following two weeks on the run.

When asked where Dikken was during that time, Sheriff Bill Flaten responded, "I wish we knew. We wouldn't let him be there for two weeks."

Officials said Dikken was brought to the sheriff's office by his parents, who have cooperated with the investigation and helped search for him while he was at large.

The communities of Granite Falls and neighboring towns had been living in fear during that time, knowing a murderer was on the loose among them. The families of the victims told FOX 9 News they feared for their lives, and many endured several sleepless nights before Dikken was found.

"It's nice to know he's behind bars and he will not be able to do this to anybody else," Joyce Panitzke, Christopher Paniztke's mother, said.

Standing by her husband, Randy, Joyce Panitzke still has a lot of questions for Dikken.

"I don't think I will ever understand why he had to do this," she admitted.

Police had been searching for Dikken since Sept. 2, when 26-year-old Monson was found shot to death inside her home in the 1100 block of Prentice Street. Christopher Panitzke, 28, was also shot multiple times inside the home. He died of his injuries a week later.

Police say Dikken went to his ex-girlfriend's home on Labor Day, shooting her and her current boyfriend before fleeing in his truck. According to the criminal complaint, Christopher Panitzke made the 911 call.

When officers arrived, Monson was dead -- but Christopher Panitzke was alive and able to identify Dikken as the shooter.

"Just the fact that Chris was talking when they got there and knowing he was able to identify who did this to them is very relieving to me," Joyce Panitzke said.

Eric Monson, Kara's cousin, confirmed the family was notified of the arrest on Tuesday, telling FOX 9, "the family is very relieved."

"This is a man who has killed two people. He threatened himself and my family to know he's in custody is a great relief and closure," Eric Monson said by phone.

Charging documents state Kara Monson and another family member received threatening messages from Dikken prior to the shooting, and all of them had been on edge. In fact, in the days leading up to the shooting, Christopher Panitzke told a friend Dikken was stalking Kara Monson and they changed the locks at her home as a precaution.

Now, Eric Monson says they want to move forward and see justice done. As for Joyce Panitzke, she would rather remember her son how he lived and not how he died.

"He was just a wonderful person -- a wonderful son," she reflected. "Could not have asked for anything better. The 28 years we had we will cherish forever."

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