Crime & Courts

Man charged in deaths of wife, daughter found in burning SUV in East Anchorage

A 34-year-old Anchorage man is charged with murder in the deaths of his wife and teenage daughter, whose bodies were found in a burning SUV in East Anchorage Saturday night.

Police detectives arrested Tylan Fely on Monday morning, according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department.

Fely faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree arson, misconduct involving a weapon, misconduct involving a corpse and criminal negligent burning in the death of his wife Cecilia Tuuaga and their daughter.

Fely is being held at the Anchorage jail. On Monday, an Anchorage judge set Fely’s bail, requiring a $500,000 cash performance bond and a $500,000 cash appearance bond.

A charging document filed by prosecutors Monday describes a spiral of family violence that led to the alleged killings:

Cecilia Tuuaga and her husband Fely had been having “marital problems,” family told police.

On Saturday night, there had been a fight in the household, with Fely, his wife and their 13-year-old daughter arguing in a room.


The daughter could be heard asking “Are you really going to shoot my mom?” according to the charging document. Then there was a gunshot, a child in the home at the time told police.

The child who had been in the home told police Fely instructed all the kids to go to a bedroom, and asked for new bedsheets.

Tuuaga was not seen again, according to the charging document.

Around 11 p.m. Anchorage police were called to a burning SUV in a vacant lot on the 200 block of Newell Street in East Anchorage.

The SUV was fully engulfed in flames. Police initially said there appeared to be two bodies in the vehicle.

The charging document does not detail what is believed to have happened to the 13-year old daughter, but accuses Fely of causing the death of “a juvenile female currently believed to be" the girl.

Police said the two people found dead inside the burning vehicle “appeared to be an adult female and a juvenile female” but formal identifications haven’t yet been made by the medical examiner.

A daughter with the same initials and age applied for a restraining order against Fely three days before the killings.

The petition describes Fely coming home angry about Tuuaga and threatening the teenager.

“He yelled at me and said he didn’t need me in this world,” the 13-year-old wrote in the restraining order petition.

Fely then held a gun to the girl’s head in front of her sisters, she wrote. She describes Fely as her father in the filing.

Because the girl was a minor, Tuuaga, her mom, signed the petition for her on Nov. 27.

The short-term protective order was granted. The next court date was set for Dec. 16.

When interviewed by police on Sunday, Fely gave varying accounts of what had happened, according to the charges: First, he said he didn’t know where his wife and daughter were, or about the burning Chevy Tahoe. He later told police other versions that involved a struggle for a gun and accidental gunshot deaths.

Detectives searched the house and found evidence of bloodstains and an attempted cleanup at the house, according to the charging document.

The place where the burning SUV was found, Newell Street, is only a few blocks from where Fely shot a stranger to death in 2005.

In that incident, Fely and the victim had been exchanging rude gestures while driving when Fely got out of the car, walked up to 28-year-old victim Mark Smith with a gun and shot him to death, according to news reports from the time.


He claimed self-defense, saying he thought the man killed was reaching for a gun.

In 2008, Anchorage jury acquitted him on first- and second-degree murder charges in the case. He was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.