In a People en Español exclusive, Monica Spear's parents open up their home in Orlando to talk about how Maya, the daughter of the lateVenezuelan actress, is getting on with her life three years after her mother's murder.

Mónica Spear y Maya
Credit: Facebook/Mónica Spear

Monica Spear‘s family has kept her memory alive three years after her tragic death in a roadside shooting in Venezuela. People en Español had exclusive access to the Spear family home in Orlando, FL, where the parents, siblings, and young daughter of the late Venezuelan actress and beauty queen share how they are getting on with their lives.

Her daughter Maya Berry Spear —who survived the deadly assault by armed robbers while traveling by car with Spears and her late father Thomas Berry in January 2014— is now a remarkable 8-year-old student who has found great inspiration in art.

“Maya's schedule is busy with friends, family, parties, going to theme parks and school. She often stays at home devoted to her art, she loves painting [and working with] clay,” says her grandfather Rafael Spear, who is raising her alongside his wife Inge Mootz-Spear.

Rafael sees Monica's charisma and talent reflected in his granddaughter. “I've always told Maya that her parents are unfortunately no longer here, that they are in Heaven and that someday, in the very distant future, she will reunite with them.”

Mónica Spear

“I tell her to remember she is still here because I'm sure life has reserved an important role for her and she should be aware of that,” he adds.

Inge, Monica's mother, reveals that her granddaughter still misses her parents, whose killers are now behind bars in Venezuela. “At first she didn't tell us anything about what had happened or how she felt because she knew it hurt us a lot,” recalls Inge. “She opened up to her teacher. We found out from her teacher or from her psychologist what she felt.”

“Maya really enjoys looking at photos of her mom and dad. When she sees the three of them together she smiles, perhaps remembering the happy moments they shared. Whenever she speaks of them, she speaks with so much love, of how much she loved them and how much her parents loved her,” she adds.

Mónica Spear

According to Inge, shortly before she died, Monica told her she believed she had Asperger's syndrome, a milder autism spectrum disorder —a condition also suffered by her character in the Spanish-language telenovela La mujer perfecta (The Perfect Woman).

“When she was playing Micaela's character in La mujer perfecta, where she played a young woman with Asperger's Syndrome, she had several interviews with specialists and with people who had that syndrome, and she identified with them a lot,” reveals her mother.

“She realized she felt different from others as a child and didn't know why; she realized she had something related to Asperger. A month before what happened, in 2013, she said: ‘I went to a specialist and he told me I have Asperger's Syndrome'.”

Mónica Spear

Her father remembers Monica as an outstanding woman with whom he shared a very special bond. Although time has helped heal their wounds, the couple's absence still hurts them.

“I haven't really begun to analyze what happened, how it happened, because unfortunately in Venezuela these are things that can happen any day,” he says. “We are not the only family involved in a tragedy like this. It is very common that if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time, something like this could happen to you. What happened [and] how did it happen? I don't know, but the fact is we don't have Monica and we don't have Thomas with us anymore and Maya is an orphan.”

To see the complete interview and exclusive photos, check out the latest issue of People en Español on sale now.

Translated by: Thatiana Diaz