SACRAMENTO, CA - Thousands of mourners gathered at a Sacramento church Friday night to remember the lives of the mother and two children killed in Rancho Cordova this week.
The memorial service was held at the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church, where murder victim Alina Bukhantsov volunteered as a Sunday school teacher.
Alina Bukhantsov and her two young children, Emmanuela and Avenir, were killed in their home on De Soto way by Alina's brother-in-law Grigoriy Bukhantsov, 19. They were found by Alina's husband, Denis, when he came home that afternoon.
The Bukhantsov's baby, Mark, was found unharmed.
Family friend Mike Podnebesnyy said he hopes Denis and his son will be able to move past the tragedy one day.
"No amount of people will be able to provide comfort in a situation like this unfortunately, but I sure hope that they will be able to move on and live on and one day find the happiness that they've had before," Podnebesnyy said.
While family members said they have already forgiven Grigoriy, they don't know what caused him to turn on his own family.
At a Thursday press conference, Denis said caring for his young boy will give him something to live for. He also said he forgives his younger brother.
Friday's memorial service was about remembering the victims, not dwelling on the man who took their lives.
Visiting pastor George Davidiuk summed up why thousands of people showed up to say goodbye.
"There are a lot of families that are grateful for someone like Alina, who was a volunteer, a great mom, and a wonderful wife," Davidiuk said.
A funeral service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Bethany Slavic Missionary Church.