Mother of teen killed at Ohio State Fair speaks out

Photo courtesy WCMH

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The mother of the 18-year-old Franklin Heights High School student who was killed in a tragic ride malfunction at the Ohio State Fair is now speaking publicly about her son.

Amber Duffield said her son, Tyler Jarrell, was humbled, determined, and ready to change the world. She holds onto a necklace to remember the essence of him. “It has Tyler’s hair because I sent my hair with him, and a moon because he always told me he loved me to the moon and back, and then his initial, and his birthstone,” said Duffield.

She said some days are better than others but his death has forever changed her life. “The void will always be there. You just learn how to do your day differently.”

Tyler was a senior at Franklin Heights High School, a four-year member of the Navy Junior ROTC, and a four-year active quartermaster of the Explorer Club with the Columbus Police Department.

He had also enlisted into the Marine Corps just weeks before he died.

His mother said Tyler should be here now living out his dream he’s had since he was a little boy, but wants others to live their dreams out in his honor.

“Continue to live, and not live in fear,” said Duffield. “Keep going. Do what he didn’t and won’t get to do.”

She surrounds herself with pictures, cards and flags to her remind of Tyler who she called Slim, but she says sadly there’s one thing she’ll never get again. “Just him. Just his presence, being able to breathe in his presence.”

Duffield added that after Tyler’s death she learned how generous her son was to others.

She heard stories of how he gave his own money he earned working at McDonald’s to help people who needed it, but never told his family. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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