CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- After weeks of fundraising, phone calls, and negotiating, family and friends of Tylar Dobbins finally have his body back. The 19-year-old died in China last month.
The family says they can now begin to have closure with a celebration of his life this weekend.
"Yesterday, seeing the airplane, you know, seeing the unloading, you know, thats when it starts to hit home," said Derek Kemp, Tylar's step-father.
Eight weeks after Tylar Dobbins, 19, died overseas, loved ones met his body at Southwest Florida International Airport.
"Not that it wasn't for real before, but now, its truly for real," said Kemp.
The Cape Coral teen succumbed to meningitis while teaching English in China.
Authorities told the family it would take $20,000 to ship his body back.
With help from Tylar's roommate abroad, Kody Yates, the shipping price was cut in half. A series of community fundraisers raised roughly $5,000.
"They want this money. they wont give Tylar to us until we give them this money," said Kemp.
While having Tylar die so far from home was an experience
impossible to prepare for, Tylan's step-father hopes their story teaches other travelers a lesson. "There's insurance for people to travel in different countries. So, if you have loved ones that are going to travel to different countries, research it, and buy that insurance," he said.
Getting closure is still not easy, but the family says they hope peace is on the horizon.
The family will hold Tylar's memorial Sunday in Cape Coral. After that, loved ones will gather for a reception at Diamond Billiards.