Vanessa Milligan's Family and Friends Hold Vigil
Candles still shine in memory of where Vanessa Milligan and her unborn child were killed.
And as difficult as it is for her family to come back to the spot, they say Wednesday was a celebration.
Behind a mass of balloons, Vanessa and Alina Milligan's family and friends finally took a sigh of relief.
Every time they come back to 271 Fifth Avenue is as difficult as the last.
"I ride by here every day on my way home from work, checking things out," Patricia Sunkes, Vanessa's grandmother, said.
But this time was different. Vanessa's ex-boyfriend, Gabriel Vega, has been convicted of setting the four-story home on fire and killing the 19-year-old Milligan and their unborn daughter.
"It's bittersweet I don't get my daughter back, I don't get my grandchild back, but the fact that he doesn't get to be in his daughter's life is such a joy," said Nathan Milligan, Vanessa's father. "And I say it selfishly, because even though his daughter had nothing to do with it, neither did my daughter and my grandchild."
Vanessa was just a week away from delivering Alina. Now you can see one of the baby's dresses, candles and flowers in place of where their home stood until April 3, 2014.
"Butterflies are her favorite, like over here, there's a butterfly," Patricia said, "and she liked hockey, so there's hockey sticks behind the angel -- she's an angel now, you know. So that's why that's there."
And although reminiscing brings some comfort, her family says it'll never take away all the pain.
"I gotta constantly wake up to not seeing her. I gotta constantly wake up to not hearing her voice," Nathan said, "so when the party's over and everyone goes home, I still gotta deal with the hurt. I still gotta deal with the pain."
Vanessa's family will be back at the spot for her birthday on July 16; that's just two days after Gabriel Vega is scheduled to be sentenced. They hope to plant a tree where her bedroom once was by then.