For the first time, Ian and Gemma Burlakoff's daughters return to the place their parents died
Their grandmother and aunt are taking care of them
6:31 PM, Nov 28, 2013
BOCA RATON, Fla. - This Thanksgiving, Linda Villareale says she is thankful to have her granddaughters in her life after suffering through an unimaginable tragedy.
"We're doing better. Everyday presents a new challenge, but we are trying and of course the girls keep us happy," Villareale said.
For the first time, the grandmother of Ian and Gemma Burlakoff's children returned to the place the couple was killed in October on A1A in Boca.
Police say Ian Burlakoff chased his wife Gemma from the Boca Country Club and then shot and killed her along A1A.
Investigators say when Boca Police Officers showed up, Ian raised a gun, so they shot and killed him.
Now, Villareale is left piecing the family back together and figuring out a way to move forward around the holidays.
"After dinner and after Hanukkah gifts and after the candles melted, we all had a good cry," Villareale said.
The couple has three daughters -- a seventeen month old, a five year old, and a seven year old.
They ate Thanksgiving dinner with their great grandmother at her condo right across the street from where their parents were killed.
Villareale says she is thankful for a stranger who picked up the girls after they witnessed their father shoot their mother.
"Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for blessings. I am thankful to that young man who came and took the children from the scene. I know I couldn't have lived through losing my grandchildren," Villareale said.
After a contentious marriage, Gemma's mom says she is also thankful that her daughter is finally at peace.
"For perhaps the first time in eight years, she can honestly rest without any fear of anything happening," Villareale said.
So now -- the family must move on. They say they will never try to erase what happened and continue to speak about Gemma regularly, but they also have to start a new beginning.
"I'm not going to be around when the youngest girl is 18. I'll be 90. The likelihood of me being there is small. I've got to be positive so they have some kind of a memory of what a family is. And that is what is important to me," Villareale said.
Starting in January, the family says they will start speaking out against domestic violence.
The daughters are in counseling to help them cope with losing their parents so tragically.