The family stood silently as the plain van with blackened windows drew up.
Driving across a path strewn with branches of the fir trees that give the here countryside a rich, verdant feel, it stopped outside the old school.
Three weeks to the day after their bloodied bodies were discovered in Killorglin, Co Kerry, Jolanta Lubiene and her eight-year-old daughter, Enrika, had arrived home. Mother and daughter, taken in such tragic circumstances, had made their final journey back to their heartbroken family.
The coffins carrying the two bodies arrived just after midnight in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and yesterday travelled the 300km to the village where Jolanta was born, just a week before she had planned to return for good with Enrika.
The family watched as the slender white coffins were taken from their lead boxes. Jolanta’s father, Rimantos, leant on crutches, suffering the ravages of liver cancer. Her mother Ramote sobbed in utter grief. Her husband, sister, brothers, their wives, and children watched as the men shouldered the remains into the old school.
It was here that Jolanta started her education, and the life’s path that brought her to Killorglin. It is now a community hall beautifully decorated with flowers for the 27-year-old woman and her little girl to spend their final evening before burial. Earlier, the van passed the school where Enrika was to start school in the autumn, in the nearby town of Telsiai, its lake glinting in the summer sun, flags still flying from celebrating Saturday’s national holiday.
In the surrounding fields, neighbours tended crops, giving the family time alone with their loss before coming to sympathise. Chatting quietly, they sipped tea and shared sandwiches and stories ahead of today’s funeral.
Aurimas Andruska, a 26-year-old Lithuanian with an address at 7 Ardmoniel Heights, Killorglin, has been charged with the double murder.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved