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New Meadows community honors innkeepers murdered on Saturday

More than 250 people showed up on Tuesday night for a candlelight vigil in honor of Rory and Sara Mehen.

NEW MEADOWS, Idaho — Rory and Sara Mehen were loved by many.

“They were kind and had a positive impact on everybody that they met,” one New Meadows community member said.

The Mehens owned and operated the Hartland Inn. John Cody Hart, 28, shot the couple at the motel on Saturday.

New Meadows community members gathered at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Dorsey Warr Memorial Park for a vigil in their remembrance. More than 250 people showed up to the event.

“I believe all of our hearts are just broken,” New Meadows Mayor Julie Good said.

Four speakers shared their love for the couple. Good said the Mehens were selfless, always thinking of ways to better their town.

Good said the Mehens were especially passionate about investing in New Meadows’ children. Rory was actively involved with the community and spearheading a new project to build a new skatepark.

He scheduled a fundraising event at the Hartland Inn for Oct. 8. Good said the fundraiser has been postponed.

 A local pastor who spoke at the vigil said he was close friends with Rory and Sara.

“They were givers, they were includers,” he said. “They loved misfits, which is probably why I fit in so well with them.”

Another friend spoke highly of their personalities – specifically of Rory’s high energy and Sara’s hospitable nature.  

“If there is a stoke meter, Rory’s face is at a 15,” he said. “If there was a kindness meter, Sara’s face was at a 15.”

After experiencing a tragedy like this, Good said processing together is the only way forward. She said the vigil is just the first of many events honoring the Mehens.

“The only way that we’re going to heal is we’re going to heal as a community.”

KTVB reached out to the Adams County Sheriff's Office for more information Tuesday evening. Sheriff Ryan Zollman did not have any new information to share, but he said their biggest priority remains figuring out Hart’s motive.

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