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Vadnais Heights mayor led effort for murdered family

Susan Banovetz
Susan Banovetz

Vadhais Heights Mayor Susan Banovetz has been deeply involved in community efforts following the murder in her city of a mother and two children.

Banovetz got a call from the sheriff’s office at 3 a.m. Oct. 14 about the domestic murder case of Bilha Omare and her children Kinley and Ivyn, says the Pioneer Press.

Bilha’s brother, Danvas Omare, told the paper in an e-mail: “Mayor Susan Banovetz was instrumental in mobilizing the Vadnais community during that time, and her help is well appreciated.”

Said the paper:

Throughout the funeral planning, Banovetz, along with her husband [Peter] and Bilha Omare’s friend Kelli Harris, have supported Danvas Omare and his family, providing them with information and comfort.

“They actually became part of our family,” Danvas Omare said.

Banavetz helped leaders in the local Kenyan community picked out caskets for the the family members, and she helped plan and raise money for the local memorial service and spoke at the funeral in New Jersey.

Banovetz told the paper that she was just doing what needed to be done; indeed, mayors often serve as ceremonial and public figureheads, although rarely to this degree.

“I think it is the humane thing to do,” Banovetz told the paper. “Because of my position and people I know in the community, I am in a position to mobilize people to help.”

She is in her seventh term as mayor, and was on the city council and school board before that.

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