Tyliah Young’s family can’t forget.
They remember her bubbly laugh, the sparkle in her warm brown eyes, the way she’d dance through the house with her two young daughters.
Those memories are overshadowed by darker thoughts of whoever shot the 22-year-old Tacoma woman several times in the head and left her alone in a cold alley, where her body literally froze over by the time someone found her Jan. 13, 2013.
“My sister was the sweetest, kindest, most giving person I’ve ever known in my life,” Nicky Harris said. “She didn’t deserve to be killed. If the public had a heart, somebody would come forward. Her daughters need justice.”
Monday marks the anniversary of Young’s death and police hope to shake loose leads in the investigation. Although detectives have interviewed dozens of people, they said most refused to talk about the case.
No official motive has been released, but Young’s family believes somebody close to her killed her because she planned to move from Tacoma back home to New York.
Police are confident somebody knows what happened.
“I think people are very reluctant to provide information in this case for fear of retaliation,” detective Lindsey Wade said. “Unfortunately, (Young) was associating with some unsavory characters. I believe that the people she was associating with were involved.”
Young was last seen the morning of Jan. 9 when she stopped by her apartment. One of her sisters, who was visiting, doesn’t know where she was going. She never came home.
After Young missed a court date for a misdemeanor warrant, her father reported her missing Jan. 11. Her body was found two days later in a tiny alcove down an alley in the 1200 block of South Ainsworth Avenue. Police have said she was likely killed the day she was found.
Her daughters – Heaven Young, 8, and Chassity Obleans, 6 – now live with their grandmother in New York.
Young first moved to Tacoma as a teenager with her mother, but they returned to Manhattan. Young came back to Tacoma with her daughters nearly two years before her death, wanting the girls to get to know a relative who lived in the area.
She started out taking classes with a dream of becoming a veterinarian but dropped out before long, something her family believes she was persuaded to do because of the people she was hanging out with.
Even when she was struggling, she kept a positive attitude.
“You never saw her angry. She always had a great demeanor about her,” said her oldest sister, Patricia Niles-Barker. “She was a real people person. She just loved everybody and everybody loved her.”