Casey Fite, who was engaged to Dylan, was sitting in Beth’s kitchen that night. The two women closest to Lyons were still processing the fact that he wouldn’t be coming home. Beth said the idea came to her almost like a message from her son — what if it was possible to save some of his sperm so that Fite could still have his children?
Fite, 26, recounted the moment on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“She never thought about this before,” Fite said. “She never even like knew this was a thing that you could do, and neither did I.”
After making frantic calls to the hospital and the medical examiner’s office, they found an Orlando urologist who agreed to perform the procedure, which yielded eight vials of Lyons’s sperm. Fite said she hopes to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization someday in the future, with more distance from the shooting.
“I’m just very, very, very grateful that it ended up working out because this is like the thing that’s keeping me going at the moment — to know that I can continue his legacy, continue what we wanted,” Fite told “Good Morning America.”
Fite and Lyons met while working at a Gainesville, Fla., TV station in 2020 and often discussed marriage and having children, Fite wrote on an online fundraiser for the IVF procedure. They had decided their kids would be named Alexa and Elliott, Fite told “Good Morning America.”
Then, on Feb. 22, Lyons was one of three people who died in a series of Orlando shootings.
Lyons was reporting on the death of Nathacha Augustin, 38, who investigators say was shot by Moses earlier that morning, when Moses opened fire on the news crew, according to officials. That same day, Moses is accused of entering a family’s house and shooting 9-year-old T’Yonna Major, who died, and her mother, who survived. Moses has pleaded not guilty to three first-degree murder charges.
Fite and her fiance’s dream of having children was suddenly lost.
“That’s all Dylan talked about,” Beth told “Good Morning America.”
During a news conference March 2, Lyons’s father, Gary, said his son had acted as a “stand-in father” for his nieces and nephews.
“Dylan so much wanted to be a husband and a father,” Gary Lyons said.
According to a 2002 study in the Journal of Medical Ethics, technology for postmortem sperm extraction has existed for about 70 years. But the decision must be made quickly. Per a 2006 study in Human Reproduction, sperm is most potent when it can be extracted within 24 hours after death; sperm can become ineffective after 36 hours. Similar to sperm banked for a living person, posthumous sperm can be preserved through freezing.
Fite told “Good Morning America” that she needs more time to grieve before undergoing IVF, fearing stress could cause a miscarriage. She told the TV program that she’ll raise the child alone, doubting she’ll find another soul mate. She said she hopes their child has Lyons’s personality — “looking like him would be a bonus,” she added.
“I am devastated he can’t be here for what we always wanted,” Fite wrote on her fundraiser. “Dylan would have been the best dad in the world.”