'They didn't ask for this': Father accused of murdering wife, teenage daughter
An Anchorage man is accused of killing his wife and daughter after their bodies were found in a burning SUV Saturday night.
Tylan Fely, 34, is facing more than a dozen felony charges including first-degree murder and arson. Fely is also charged with misconduct involving a corpse, tampering with evidence, criminally negligent burning and criminal mischief.
According to the Anchorage Police Department, two people were found dead in an SUV fire Saturday evening in East Anchorage. Police say officers and the Anchorage Fire Department responded to reports about the fire just after 11 p.m. at the 200 block of Newell Street.
APD says the Chevy Tahoe was parked in a vacant lot and fully engulfed when they saw two people dead inside.
According to charging documents, officers found shoe impressions, a bloody, multicolored blanket, a partially burned gas can and parts of a handgun at the scene.
Using a partial VIN number, they were able to determine the SUV belonged to Cecilia Tuuaga, Fely's wife. Tuuaga's family members told police she had been missing since Saturday evening, along with her 13-year-old daughter, identified in court documents by her initials, N.T. Family members also told investigators Tuuaga and her husband were experiencing marital problems, according to the criminal complaint.
When police interviewed Fely, he initially denied knowing anything about the whereabouts of his wife and daughter or the vehicle fire, according to court documents. Then, he changed his story and admitted he was in the car with both of them, parked near where the vehicle fire happened.
"He told police he and his wife had been fighting, that his wife had a gun, that he walked away from the vehicle, and that his wife and daughter were alive when he walked away."
Later, his story changed again, according to the complaint:
"He admitted to be in the vehicle and fighting with his wife, who he stilled claimed had his gun. He said that he struggled with Cecilia to get the gun and it accidentally discharged, killing N.T. He claimed he and Cecilia sat in the car and argued over who to blame for N.T.'s death before Cecilia killed herself by shooting herself in the face. [Fely] stated he was scared that he would get in trouble so he used gasoline to start the car on fire and burned the bodies of Cecilia Tuuaga and N.T. and the gun in the Chevy Tahoe."
Once again, Fely modified his story, this time with a different explanation of Tuuaga's death:
"Subsequently, [Fely] modified his story again to detectives and stated that he also struggled with Cecilia to get the gun and it accidentally discharged, killing Cecilia as well."
"There had recently been a domestic violence restraining order taken out by the mother on behalf of the daughter against the defendant at the time that the killings are believed to have occurred," Assistant District Attorney Patrick McKay said in court on Monday. "This is a very serious, the most serious, domestic violence crime that could have been committed against two of his family members and the defendant does have other children."
According to the document, investigators interviewed a juvenile witness in the home who heard a gunshot:
"One juvenile indicated that earlier in the evening, [Fely], Cecilia, and N.T. were arguing in a room at the house. The juvenile told detectives that N.T. was heard saying 'are you really going to shoot my mom?' The juvenile then heard a gunshot. Shortly later, [Fely] told the juveniles to go to a bedroom in the house. [Fely] subsequently asked them for bedsheets. The juvenile saw [Fely] and N.T., but did not see Cecilia after hearing the gunshot."
Through a search warrant, police found suspected bloodstains and evidence of a cleanup in the bedroom the witness said the gunshot came from. Additionally, officers who responded to the scene of the vehicle fire noted a "defect" to the back of the head of the victim sitting in the driver seat.
Police are relying on the medical examiner to determine an exact cause of death as well as confirmation of the victims' identities.
In court Monday afternoon, Cecilia's sister, Marlina Tuuaga, begged the judge not to give Fely bail.
"Not were they only taken, but suffered," she said through tears.
She described them both as happy and humble.
"My niece was only 13 going on 14. Her whole life ahead of her. Played sports. And loved to help her parents," Marlina said. "My sister, Cecilia, she was very social, very outgoing, very happy. Always willing to do for the next person even if it was the little bit that she had left. Please please please, for me, my family her friends, no bail."
The judge, who is required to set bail, ordered a $1,000,000 cash bail for Fely with a third party custodian. He's also ordered not to have contact with members of the family for now.
A check of Fely's criminal history reveals he was charged with first-degree murder in 2005, but was acquitted after trial and convicted of manslaughter instead.
According to an online summary of the case, Fely confronted a man in another vehicle with a gun:
"When Fely pointed his pistol in Smith's face, Smith attempted to grab the weapon. During the ensuing struggle, the gun went off; the bullet struck and killed Smith."
Fely was sentenced to serve 10 years with two suspended. According to the Department of Corrections, Fely was released on parole in November 2010 and completed his supervision in November 2013.
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