“The world needs more Carissas.”: Friends remember murdered Grand Forks mom

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 5:09 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - It still doesn’t feel real for Carissa Overgaard’s friends.

“I can hear her voice making my kids giggle,” Laura Vaughn said. “She’s in my mind constant right now and I just keep thinking I can message her or that I can stop by.”

The 31-year-old mom of five was killed Aug. 23 in Warren, Minn. after investigators say her ex-husband, 31-year-old Anders Odegaard, brutally beat her during a child custody exchange.

Vaughn, along with three other women Valley News Live spoke with today are all members of the ‘Grand Forks Mamas’ group that connected them to Carissa nine years ago. Today, they found a moment of peace together in their grief as they laughed and remembered the good times with a woman they say was truly like no other.

“The world needs more Carissas; so amazing and loving so deeply. She just exuded grace and love so much,” Vaughn said. “Everyone who ever saw her wanted to be her friend.”

“She was the nicest person I ever talked to. She always had a smile on her face,” Jessica Ford said.

Although busy raising five kids of her own, the women say Carissa was always willing to give a helping hand and a warm, friendly smile no matter what was going on behind closed doors.

“I want to be more like that. More full of joy, less complaining, more joy despite what you’re going through,” Tamara Wynn said.

The women say while it’s sad the photo of Carissa and her five children now accompanies gruesome details and sadness on most media sites, they say the photo itself perfectly embodies everything Carissa was.

“That big smile and loving on all those kids. Her arms and heart full of love,” Laura Dahlen said.

“She was incredible at being each one of (the kids’) mom. Just incredible,” Ford said.

They hope Carissa’s memory lives on, and say whether you knew her or not, we all could take a page out of Carissa’s kind and loving book of life.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Carissa’s funeral expenses and to help her family during this difficult time. You can find it by clicking here.

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