Tyler Trammell-Huston was living with a foster family in California, but his only Christmas wish "was to have a mom. I so badly wanted to be that person for him," says his half-sister, Alexandria Griffin-Heady. Then tragedy struck: While the 9-year-old was visiting Griffin-Heady in Yuba County over the weekend, he was killed by her dogs. Authorities say Griffin-Heady, 24, left Tyler in her trailer with her three pit bulls—next door to where two of his siblings lived with their adoptive parents—while she went to work on Sunday and returned hours later to find him unresponsive, per Fox40. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital; authorities say he died of multiple dog bites, per ABC10. "I failed him, whether it's my fault, my dogs' fault, whoever's fault," Griffin-Heady says. "I wanted to protect him, and I wanted to give him an amazing life."
She adds she never thought Tyler would be in danger. "He loved [the dogs], he laid in the bed with them. He played with them. He wanted one of their puppies," she says. "I'm guessing he got up to go to the bathroom or … he tried to leave and from there I don't know." An officer says Griffin-Heady could face child endangerment charges—Tyler's aunt says her living conditions and dogs put the boy in jeopardy—but her lawyer says charges would be "inappropriate." "If she had any hint at all that these dogs had any propensity for violence, she would never have left her brother with them," he tells the Sacramento Bee. "She raised them and cannot fathom what could have happened that caused them to attack a little boy." The officer says two of the three dogs "had clear indications of blood on the muzzle," but all three are likely to be put down. (This pit bull saved a young boy.)