Just a Boy—Tyler John Amann was born June 15, 1987. He was a lively and energetic boy with a kind heart and a curious spirit. His beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes were instantly captivating and his laughter was contagious. He was a typical boy and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sports, skateboarding, bmx biking, goofing around with friends, and playing video games. He was excellent at teasing his little sisters Raeanna and Michaela, and was a wiz at taking things apart and putting them back together again. When at his grandmother’s house, he would be gone for an entire day with his younger cousin Chris, exploring and building intricate forts in the woods. Together, they were skilled at catching snakes, mice, and bullfrogs. He was a big brother to 6 siblings and had a special relationship with his brother Oliver, 15 years his junior. Oliver was his shadow, watching him work on things in the garage and tagging along with Tyler to monster truck derbies. Growing up, Tyler’s life was full, but not without tribulations.
Hindsight is 20/20—Like many kids, Tyler struggled in school. He was talented in hands-on tasks, but had difficulties with the traditional style learning in school. During his senior year of high school he was granted academic credits with a work-release program, allowing him to put his skills and passion to work in the field of auto-mechanics. Due to a run-in with legal trouble, he lost his driver’s license. Dedicated as he was, he would ride his bike 10 miles from home to his place of employment and back. Halfway through his senior year, his mom allowed him to move in with friends closer to work, cutting his daily route in half. This was a turning point for Tyler, and it’s only in hindsight that his family can see the signs. The summer after he graduated from high school, he was working a rigorous schedule with 3 part-time jobs, and spending time with his girlfriend. With plans to save up money and get his own place, he began to move back into his Mother’s house in the end of July 2005. Tyler had changed drastically since his high school graduation in May 2005.
The Tragedy—On August 4th, 2005 Tyler’s family was on their way home from family vacation. After a week of camping at a campsite resort and waterpark, they were all eager to pack up early that day and head home. When they got there, Tyler was fast asleep in his room. After three consecutive phone calls from Tyler’s best friend, his mom, Beth, went in to check on him. She woke him out of his deep sleep to see how his week was, ask about his work schedule, and let him know about the phone calls. Earlier that day, Tyler and his girlfriend had a huge argument; no different than ones they’ve had before. This particular fight, however, lead her to threaten suicide. She was taken to a healthcare facility and put under surveillance. When Tyler got the news he was frantic. He tried to locate what hospital she was taken to, but they would not release any information. Tyler became desperate. Despite attempts by Beth to console him, he was helpless. Then the situation took a sharp turn for the worst.
“Don’t Miss Me”—While working to get food on the table for Tyler’s 6 younger siblings and unpack from their trip, Beth kept an eye on the whereabouts of Tyler. She saw him go down to his room, back outside to his car, down to his room again, and this time she followed him outside. He was crying as his sat in the drivers seat. Beth grabbed the wheel through the window and tried to calm him. “Tyler, it’s ok. Please come inside and we’ll figure this out.” He responded, “No, Mom. I have to go,” and sped off. She went back inside and tried to contact Tyler’s best friend who had been calling earlier that day. Her phone buzzed in her hand with a message from Tyler, “Love you, Mom.”She knew she needed to find him; rushing out of the house she left his siblings in her oldest daughter Raeanna’s care.
Tyler’s stepfather found him first. When Beth got there she went to his car. Tyler had pulled the trigger and ended his life within minutes of being found. In the note on his passenger seat he wrote: “Don’t miss me.”
The Aftermath—The pain of losing someone so tragically is indescribable. That day Tyler’s family left their vacation unknowingly heading back to a home that would never be the same. The pain would resonate throughout the house like the smell of cigarette smoke on Tyler’s furniture. It lingers everyday with especially sharp pains on holidays, birthdays, and the anniversary of his death. “A mother should never have to bury her child,” said Beth as she went to open the door at the funeral home where she would make arrangements to put her oldest child in the ground. Raeanna cried the whole day she turned 18 realizing she was officially older than her older brother; something he used to tease her would never happen had become her reality.
Weeks later the toxicology report came back showing high amounts of methamphetamine in Tyler’s system. In the next few years Beth established Tyler’s Legacy, Inc. a not for profit organization focused on education and support for families struggling with substance abuse and addiction. After pouring her heart and soul into the organization, she decided it was time to walk away. Her daughter Raeanna has taken on the mission for her personal platform as Miss Wisconsin 2014. This website is dedicated to Tyler and his family.