JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News was the first to show you the heartfelt homecoming of a Jacksonville military soldier.
Eighteen-year-old Sierra Veney traveled from North Carolina to Jacksonville to surprise her mother, Lisa Veney, two days before Christmas.
"I couldn't have asked for a better gift than my princess Sierra Lynae," said Lisa Veney in a post she wrote that day on Facebook.
Just six days later, Lisa Veney was shot to death by her husband, Sheridan Veney, right before their daughter's eyes, witnesses told police.
"I couldn't even imagine how she feels. She and her mom were really close," said neighbor Vickie Richardson.
Neighbors Action News spoke to didn't want to show their faces on camera but say the couple recently separated. Action News did some digging and tracked them down to Glen Burnie, Md., where they wed 20 years ago. Action News also found out their home was foreclosed on in October. The neighbor said that despite their recent troubles, they rarely argued.
"Never even seen him mad. He was never angry. He was always helping with the kids, very friendly, super-nice guy," said Richardson.
While looking into the estranged husband's past, Action News found an arrest record in Maryland. In 1993, he pled guilty to indecent exposure. Then, in 1994, the year after the couple got married, Sheridan Veney was charged with battery involving an incident with his wife, Lisa Veney.
Witnesses told police that Sheridan Veney shot his wife in the front entrance area of the Westside Applebee's Sunday night and admitted to doing it. Police say the couple got into an argument, and as Lisa Veney was leaving, she was shot five times and died at a nearby hospital.
This holiday tragedy has rocked the family and the many lives they touched.