LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Students and staff returned to school Monday after a tragic double-murder ended the life of two popular educators just days earlier.
Parents and their children arrived with flowers, notes, teddy bears, and tears at Lake Gibson Middle School in Lakeland Monday morning. The school’s chain-link fence became a makeshift memorial for assistant principal Lisa Routenberg and teacher Lisa Fuillerat, who both dedicated their too-short lives to education.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the coworkers and partners died in a double-murder and suicide Friday.
Authorities said Fuillerat's estranged husband, Vincente Fuillerat, is accused of killing the women, then killing himself at Routenberg's Brandon home.
Lisa Fuillerat lived at the residence with Routenberg, her girlfriend. A concerned attorney contacted law enforcement when the Fuillerats failed to show up for a divorce hearing.
Polk County School Superintendent, Jacqueline Byrd, issued the following statement about the women, stating in part:
"The loss that we feel is very difficult to put into words. Samara and Lisa were caring educators at Lake Gibson Middle. They were dedicated to serving the youth of our community. They were positive role models for their students, and a source of strength and knowledge for fellow colleagues."
Lake Gibson Middle School Principal, Alain Douge, also weighed in on the loss. "They were dedicated educators. They were accountable. They were intelligent. They were loved by the staff and students," he said. "They were first class all the way."
A crisis team arrived to assist students and staff seeking counseling Monday.
"She was always there for me. She tutored me. And I want her to know that I love her and I will miss her and I am always going to miss her," student Mackenzie Denn said of Fuillerat.
"She is a sweet, very kind-hearted person," mother Heatehr Rafton said of Routenberg. "She would do anything for her students."