Fiancée of TV reporter killed in Florida shooting spree plans on having his child via IVF

Casey Fite said she plans to raise her child with Dylan on her own because she cannot imagine finding a soulmate like him again.

ByKatie Kindelan ABCNews logo
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Fiancée of TV reporter killed in FL plans on having his child via IVF
The fiancée of a TV news reporter who was killed last month while covering a shooting in Florida said she plans to have a child with her late partner using in-vitro fertilization.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The fiancée of Dylan Lyons, a news reporter killed last month while covering a shooting, said she plans to have a child with her late partner using in-vitro fertilization.

Casey Fite, who became engaged to Lyons last November, told "Good Morning America" that shortly after Lyon's death on Feb. 23, she reached out to an Orlando-based urologist who was able to conduct a postmortem sperm retrieval on Lyons.

Using Lyons' sperm, Fite said she hopes to undergo IVF at some point in the future to be able to give birth to their biological child.

"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," Fite told "GMA." "To know that I can continue his legacy, continue what we wanted."

Lyons, 24, was one of three people killed in a series of shootings in Orlando on Feb. 23. A suspect was arrested the same day in connection to the three shootings, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

READ MORE:Suspect in Florida shooting that left TV journalist dead faces more murder charges

Lyons, a Spectrum News 13 reporter, was shot and killed, and his colleague, photojournalist Jesse Walden, 29, was shot and injured, while the journalists were near their car reporting on one of the earlier shootings, the sheriff's office said.

Lyons and Fite, 26, met each other in 2020 while they were both working at the same television news station in Gainesville, Florida. She was a producer for the station, while Lyons was an on-air reporter, according to Fite.

They moved to Orlando together for Lyons' job, she said, and were planning for their future, which included the desire to have at least two kids.

"All we did was talk about getting married and having kids," Fite said, adding they had picked out the names Alexa and Elliott for their kids because Lyons wanted to include the initials of his grandparents, A and E. "He always said he wanted [kids] now ... this was something him and I talked about constantly."

Fite said the idea to do the postmortem sperm retrieval came from her then future mother-in-law, Beth Lyons, as the two sat together mourning Dylan Lyons on the night of his death.

Beth Lyons said her son, one of her three children, always wanted to be a father and believed he had met his soulmate in Fite.

"That's all Dylan talked about. Their love was inseparable," she told "GMA." "For Casey to pass on his legacy would be just beautiful because they were just two beautiful souls made for each other."

Dylan Lyons' father, Gary Lyons, said in a news conference last week that his son was already a "stand-in father" to his nieces and nephews.

"Dylan so much wanted to be a husband and a father," Gary Lyons said. "I wish I could've taken the bullet."

Postmortem, or posthumous, sperm retrieval is still a relatively uncommon procedure, with the first use of it reported in 1980, according to a case study published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility.

There are many ethical and legal factors considered before the procedure can take place. Sperm must be retrieved within 24 to 36 hours after death for best chances of success, data shows.

Once sperm is extracted, it can be frozen and then used in the same way as a living donor's sperm would be through IVF. The sperm can remain frozen at a fertility clinic until the partner of the deceased, Fite in this case, is ready for pregnancy.

Fite said she is currently working through her grief with the help of mental health professionals and will wait until she feels emotionally and physically ready to carry a pregnancy. She has started a GoFundMe account to help raise money to cover the costs of IVF, which can run in the thousands of dollars.

"I know I only have so many chances and I just feel like if I were to do it right now there would be too much stress on it, and I would end up miscarrying, and that's not something I want," Fite said. "Nobody wants [a miscarriage], but it's not like he's here and we can keep trying, so I have to be smart about it."

Fite said she is planning to raise her biological child with Dylan Lyons on her own because she cannot imagine finding a soulmate like him again.

"That's the type of love we shared, and we didn't believe that there's anyone else out there for us," she said. "I have a very supportive family who will help me raise this child."

Both Fite and Beth Lyons said they hope the child inherits Dylan Lyons' "heart of gold" and his caring and generous personality.

"I would like to raise a child like Dylan's mother raised him because she did an amazing job with Dylan," Fite said. "Obviously the baby looking like him would be a bonus."

She continued, "Even before this tragic incident, I always told him I wanted our children to look like him, not me. He would say, 'No I want them to look like you because you're so beautiful.'"