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'I am very broken': Fiancee, family hold vigil for father of 8 killed days before Christmas

Roman Yslas with his daughter
Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 00:41:03-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of Roman Yslas held a candlelight vigil Sunday night to remember the father of eight who was killed days before Christmas.

“Every single day is hard, and it’s painful to know that he’s not coming through the door,” said Shell Campbell, Yslas’ fiancee.

Campbell continues to grieve her love of Yslas.

“I was making dinner the other night, and I looked at the clock, and I thought, 'Oh look, Roman is going to be here any minute now, and he’ll be off work.' And I had to remind myself that he’s not coming home," she said.

As a mother, Campbell is holding onto her fiance's memory for the sake of their kids, having to remind them daddy is not coming home.

“I’m not sure if I’m doing it well or not. A lot of days I just feel like I'm failing,” Campbell said. "He’s not going to get to read our daughter a bedtime story, he’s not going to get to have a father-daughter dance, or see her first tooth fall out, or go to our sons’ next baseball or soccer game."

Yslas died just days before Christmas due to a senseless act of violence outside their home at the Barrewoods Apartments.

“We had to leave our apartment, we can’t stay there," Campbell said. "It’s too traumatizing to stay there. All of the other children that were there, they don’t want to have lights off or to be alone in their room."

Having celebrated Christmas and the new year without Yslas, Campbell's family is trying to fill an emptiness in their hearts and their home.

But Campbell worries their 1-year-old daughter is too young to understand the death of her father.

“She’s so young, and I’m worried that she’s going to forget," Campbell said. "She’s not going to remember all the times he rocked her to sleep, sang to her every time he was there, every time he came through the door and she jumped in his arms."

And as the days go on without Yslas, Campbell says she remembers her fiance for his smile and grace.

“He was everyone’s best friend, he didn’t meet a stranger," she said. "He knew you for five minutes and he was your friend. He was like that kid in kindergarten that made friends immediately. He never let anything get him down. He always had a smile on his face, even when things were stacked against us."

Moving forward, Campbell and the children are doing their best to see the brighter days ahead.

“Our smiles are gone," she said. "It’s just not happy. There is not going to be happy, many anythings for us. It’s just going to be a day."