RJR starts new chapter in healing after Chad Isaak guilty verdict

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Many have been waiting more than two years for a resolution to the RJR Maintenance and Management murders in Mandan, and most especially the families and co-workers of the victims.

The owner of RJR and her workers are starting a new chapter in the healing process.

As a bookend to the years-long process they found themselves in, RJR brought their coworkers and families to the place where it all started: the business.

Surrounded by family and friends and pictures of those they lost, the RJR team gathered for the first time following the verdict. RJR owner Jackie Fakler spoke on behalf of the company.

”The pain we feel didn’t start with this trial, nor will it end with it. The verdict in the courtroom cannot break the loved ones missing in our lives,” Fakler said.

Many workers were emotional as they stood behind Jackie in support of their boss, their company, and for some, their parents. Jackie’s daughter Jamie comforted her as she talked about her late husband, Robert.

”My partner not only in business, but my partner in life. I miss our mornings. I miss all of the dreams that we were making that we can’t fulfill,” she said.

As the company tries to look forward, employees can’t help but look back and wonder why the events of April 1st happened. They’ve improved security around the building, but the memories of their loved ones remain in their hearts and minds.

”They were awesome individuals. They were mothers, they were brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandparents. Their lives should not have been taken like this. Should not have,” Fakler said.

There are signs that say “home” hung in the entrance, and that’s what they hope to keep: their workplace feeling like home.

As the rain falls around the RJR building, there’s a sense of cleansing. But there’s more work to do; both in the courtroom and in their hearts.

Fakler said she agrees with the verdict of the court, but said she will likely never stop wondering why. She wants to see Isaak given a life sentence, which he may receive following another investigation.

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