The brother of Kate Allen, who was shot and killed by her estranged husband last year, is suing Cracker Barrel.
CLEVELAND - Kayla Allen's aunt and uncle said they believe the 10-year-old shooting victim now is with her mother and sister.
"We believe they're all together," said Michelle Jindra, Kayla's aunt and legal guardian. "I feel Kayla kind of gave up because she wanted to be with her family."
Jindra's husband, Carl, also Kayla's legal guardian, said a memorial service for Kayla on Monday will help ease his family's grief, but it won't take it away.
"Many years from now, I'm still gonna have questions, and not answers," Carl said. "And that's what I struggle with. There was no reason for it."
Kayla, 10, had been trying to recover from injuries she sustained when her father shot her at the Brooklyn Cracker Barrel on April 12. Kayla's mother, Katie Allen, and her sister, Kerri, both were shot and killed by Kevin Allen in the restaurant, before police shot and killed him.
Kayla was in the hospital for weeks, and it seemed like she was improving. Her condition was upgraded from critical to serious. The Jindras were making plans for Kayla's future, and looking forward to taking her home.
"Initially, we thought the worst, so we were prepared," Michelle Jindra said. "And then she did get very good -- she looked good."
Michelle described how Kayla even tried to take the tubes out of her nose while she was still in the hospital.
"We were excited to bring her home," Michelle said. "And then unfortunately she had the aneurysm and then from that point forward there really wasn't any positives after that," she said.
Michelle described the family's journey as "a rollercoaster you just can't get off, or like a nightmare you just can't wake up from.
"We were so focused on Kayla and doing the best for her and bringing her home with us," Michelle said. "Obviously that wasn't God's plan."
Monday's service will comfort the family in a small way, Carl said through tears. He was Kate's brother, and he also believes his sister now has her two daughters in a better place.
Carl said of Kayla, "She's perfect again. She's not in pain. She's not suffering."
The service was at 11 a.m. at Grace Christian Missionary Alliance Church, 7393 Pearl Rd. in Middleburg Heights.
Donations also are being collected Monday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Applebee's restaurants in Strongsville and Westgate Plaza (Rocky River). Proceeds will benefit the Berea Animal Shelter and the Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland.
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