A few weeks later, the picturesque cottage became a crime scene, and the lives of Amanda Knox and her family changed forever.
After learning that Amanda's roommate had been murdered, Mellas boarded a flight to Italy to go console her daughter. But during a layover in Switzerland, she answered an unforgettable phone call: Amanda had been arrested.
When Mellas finally arrived in Perugia, she was swarmed by media. Mellas says those first days in Perugia are a blur. "I was in shock. I wasn't eating. I wasn't sleeping. I hadn't seen Amanda. It was just a horrible time."
A few days later, Curt flew to Perugia, too.
But back home in Seattle, Deanna was alone in college harassed by media to the point she was provided security guards.
Deanna told ABC News, "It was a little frustrating. I couldn't walk to eat dinner without a police security escort to my cafeteria."
The attention from the media and the stress of the trial has been difficult for Deanna. While waiting for a verdict, Deanna is taking a semester off college and working in retail. She wanted to move closer to home and be with her family.
Deanna has also traveled to Perugia to visit Amanda six times. When home, she has had to fill the role of big sister to Ashley and Delaney while Amanda is gone. But Deanna says she cannot fill Amanda's shoes. "It's been hard to take her role, because no one can really replace what she did. She always took care of us."
Driving around their hometown, Deanna has constant reminders of her absent sister -- the soccer fields they shared, Amanda's favorite bowling alley and a local park they frequented.
"It's different driving in the car now. It was always the four of us -- Amanda, Ashley, Delaney and me... but now there is always an empty seat," Deanna explained.
For more than a year, Amanda's family has rented a small apartment on the outskirts of Perugia because it's cheaper than a hotel. When they are not in court or visiting Amanda in prison, they spend much of their time updating family and friends about Amanda and the trial.
One silver lining for this blended family is their much stronger bond. Both Curt and Edda remarried and live just miles apart, but Amanda and Deanna were raised by their mother.
"Everyone knows my parents are divorced. We have lived with our mom our whole lives and it pushed our dad to the side. But he has really stepped in and became the dad we always knew he could be."
The two families even gather at the Mellas household for Amanda's weekly 10-minute phone calls.
Reflecting on the one-hour visits he has with Amanda, an emotional Curt explained how much stronger his relationship is now with Amanda. "How often do you get to sit down and just talk with your child for one hour?"
With a verdict approaching, Amanda's family remains "cautiously optimistic." But they are very aware that this ordeal may not be over anytime soon.
Deanna cannot think about the possibility her sister may not come home. "I just can't imagine it in my head. I just can't picture it. I need her home."