LITTLE FALLS, Minn. - Staff members at Living Hope Church in Little Falls say they expect an "overflow crowd" for Saturday's memorial service honoring the lives of 17-year-old Nick Brady and 18-year-old Haile Kifer.
"The pain is widespread among family and young people," said Pastor Jon Adams of Living Hope Church. "We really want to emphasis and deal with the hurts of the kids, too."
Close to 800 people are expected to attend the service to remember the teens shot and killed on Thanksgiving Day. The two had broken into the home of 64-year-old Byron Smith. Smith has been charged with two counts of second degree murder.
Pastor Adams says Nick was active within the church and often invited Haile, too.
"This was not just a kid in our church," said Pastor Adams. "This is a young man that's been in our homes, he's been part of the things we do, and he helps out on a regular basis."
Adams says Nick was "always happy and always fun," but admitted there were moments of "mischievous" behavior.
"Obviously, this incident is very surprising," said Pastor Adams. "He was very sharp and excelled at everything."
The grandmother of Nick Brady, Bonnie Schaeffel released a statement through the church. A portion of it reads:
"What happened? We will never know, but we sure have a lot of questions. I know I made mistakes at 17 and 18. Very few people could ever say they made no mistakes. The difference is, I am alive to tell about mine. Nick and Haile are not.
Our families are grieving the loss of two young kids who were such a vibrant part of our families. We love you. We miss you."
The funeral will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Living Hope Church.
To read the full statement from Bonnie Schaeffel, click on the PDF file on the left.
Meanwhile, Smith remains in jail. His new attorney, Steve Meshbesher released a statement Thursday saying in part, "this is a tragic incident for all involved."
The investigation appears far from over. A parent of one of Brady's friends tells KARE 11, her teenage son has been questioned by and is cooperating with state investigators as they continue to gather information about what happened.