Fiancée of Murdered Reporter Who Says He 'Wanted Desperately' to Be a Dad Raises Money for IVF

"He wanted to be a father so badly and I know he would have been the best father in the world," Casey Fite tells PEOPLE of her late fiancé

Fiancée of Murdered Spectrum 13 Reporter Dylan Lyons Raises Money to Start Dream Family Through IVF
Dylan Lyons and Casey Fite. Photo: courtesy of Casey Fite

Casey Fite is looking to continue her plan of starting a family with the man of her dreams, even after his death.

Dylan Lyons, a Spectrum News 13 reporter, was killed on Feb. 22 when a gunman opened fire on him and photojournalist Jesse Walden — who was critically injured — as they sat in their car in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Orlando, Florida.

Lyons left behind a devastated family that includes Fite, whom he'd proposed to in November. The two, who had moved in together in June, often talked about their wedding and starting a family.

"We started talking about marriage and children seriously. We picked out our children's names a couple of months ago," Fite, 26, tells PEOPLE. "The only reason why we didn't get married yet or have children yet was because he's Jewish. He was religious, very into his faith, and serious about wanting his children to be raised Jewish."

Fite has been in the process of converting, with hopes to finish this summer. "Once I was done, that's when we were really gonna get started with more planning."

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If the aftermath of Lyons' death, Fite spent time with his family, who they were living with at the time. It was at their kitchen table that night that Lyons' mom, with whom he shared a close relationship, brought up the idea of trying to preserve her son's sperm in hopes Fite could still carry their child.

"We got home from the hospital after learning that our lives were turned upside down forever. And I was just setting the kitchen with his mom, and we're devastated. And for some reason, his mom mentioned it," she recalls.

Unsure it was even a possibility, the family started researching it and as soon as doctor's offices opened the following morning, they began making calls.

"We called where the medical examiner's office — where he was because it was a homicide — and they said 'We can't do it, but if you find a doctor whose willing to do it, then we'll allow it,' " Fite explains to PEOPLE.

With the help of Lyons' family, they were able to contact Dr. Patel, who "happens to be the number one in the country for attracting sperm."

"So I was fortunate that we found him because obviously, he would do a good job. And he extracted it around the 24-hour timeframe," Fite explains, noting sperm typically live on for approximately 24 hours after a person is deceased.

The way they were able to make it happen in such a short time frame gave both Fite and Lyons' mom hope.

"His mom and I both believe Dylan sent us that information, spiritually," she says. "Because Dylan would always say that he was going to die first, and I would always say, 'you can't leave me, we have to get married, we have children.' And he said, 'I promise, I'll give you one child.' So I think it was, in his own way, trying to fulfill that promise to me."

Fite has said that she wants to take time to prepare physically and mentally for that next step, noting, "I have to make sure I do this right because it's not like he's here. I only have so many tries, so I have to be smart about it."

As she recovers from Lyons' untimely death and prepares to try and make their dream a reality, Fite is raising money for the expensive process of IVF, having raised almost $5,000 of her $50,000 goal to date.

Currently, her days consist of navigating her grief and trying to find the strength to forge ahead.

"I go to the cemetery every day, and I bought this journal and I write to him in the journal every day. My rabbi who is converting me, it was actually his idea. I had this thought yesterday that one day, if the IVF is successful and I do carry out our dream of having children, I want to give these journals to our children to read."

Fiancée of Murdered Spectrum 13 Reporter Dylan Lyons Raises Money to Start Dream Family Through IVF
courtesy of Casey Fite

Fite is hoping that those who see the GoFundMe fundraiser understand her intentions.

"Dylan, he always took care of me, his mom, his niece and nephew. We had talked about, 'What if I have problems getting pregnant?' And he promised we would keep trying, whether that meant IVF or a surrogate, we'd do that. He said he'd make it work," Fite shares. "But because that was taken away from me, this is what I have to do now. Any donation would be appreciated because this is something that meant so much not only to me but to him as well."

Fite revealed that Lyons' parents were building a new house, where he made sure their baby would have a nursery. Now, she dreams of being able to bring their baby to a spot Dad made sure would be there.

"It was something that he wanted so desperately. He wanted to be a father so badly and I know he would have been the best father in the world. Based on how he was with his niece and nephew and just by the person he was because he was the best person ever."

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