From the ashes, Kirkland widower rises again



Posted on July 14, 2010 at 6:01 PM

KIRKLAND, Wash. - For Leo Milkin, the memories always linger.

"When I was here, I had the happiest moments of my life," he says. "Here" is Milkin's new home -- rebuilt on the very spot where his two children, wife and sister-in-law were murdered 4 years ago by Conner Schierman. The house was then torched to cover up the killings.

Milkin's return here is the final piece in putting his life back together.

"I feel like I had to rebuild this house to honor my family and my wife. I feel at peace here," he says.

Many have asked Leo Milkin how he can move back to the same place and live among all the terrible memories. He says the answer is simple. It's where his heart is.

"I can almost see the kids and family running around here," he says.

It has taken Milkin four years to rebuild the house because of a problem with a contractor who poured a faulty foundation. Milkin had to sue in the midst of the trial of the man who killed his family. Since then, members of his Kirkland community donated money, time and materials to help rebuild the house.

"I can feel the love and I'm very appreciative of that," he says.

CDK Construction, Whirlpool Appliance, United Wholesale and Aristocraft Cabinets were all instrumental in getting the house done.

Milkin has a strong faith in God and believes he'll see his family again. But until then, he focuses on "Rising out of the ashes, so to speak, overcoming what happened and being triumphant over it. That's exactly what (my wife and kids) would want me to do."

Leo Milkin plans to move into the home next week after observing the four-year anniversary of the killings this Saturday. He says he hopes to remarry one day, and build a new family in the new house.