OXFORD, Mass. - One year ago this month, 28-year-old Maddilyn Burgess was found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Her parents say it was the result of domestic violence.
Since her death, Burgess' parents vowed to hold a vigil every year. They chose Oxford for 2019, the town where she grew up.
"She was incredible," said Bill Burgess, her father. "Every day from the first you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night, it's a constant struggle knowing what happened and losing Maddilyn the way that we did."
It's been an agonizing year for Maddilyn's parents.
"She always put other people before herself and, unfortunately, in a relationship she would always try to see the best in the relationship, and if the good times were good it was worth to her some of the bad times," Bill Burgess said. "We just never predicted it would end how it did."
The 28-year-old’s body was found in the trunk of her on-again-off-again boyfriend after he was pulled over by police in Maine on August 9, 2018.
Her parents believe she was trying to leave him. She had tried before, even filing an emergency restraining order earlier that year.
"This is an ugly subject that no one wants to get involved in," said Cindi Perla, Maddilyn's mother. "And it's not really something that you think you're going to have to get involved in until it does happen to you."
By candlelight Saturday in Oxford, they remembered Maddilyn and the many others that have died because of domestic violence – something they do now year-round through the Maddilyn Rose Memorial Foundation.
Raising money and awareness, hoping that no other parents end up where they are now.
"At the community level, it's going to take everyone to get involved, it's the schools, it's the police department, it's the residents, if you hear your neighbor arguing, you call, you may save a life," said Perla.
They say it's also important to make sure that people know there are resources available for those who are in a domestic violence situation, which is why they have partnered with the YWCA.
To find out about upcoming workshops on domestic violence recognition, click here.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.