The mother of a Canadian man shot dead during a business meeting has spoken of her relief at his alleged killers being arrested after three months on the run, and of her hope that his fiancee’s remarkable recovery from being shot in the attack will help bring justice.
Jonni Yeomans’s son Tyler Pratt, 38, was murdered on the evening of February 28 in an industrial park in Hamilton, a city in Ontario.
His pregnant fiancee survived the attack, but lost the unborn baby.
The accused killers – Yun ‘Lucy’ Lu Li, a 25-year-old wealthy Instagram influencer triplet, and her Slovakian boyfriend, Oliver Karafa, 28 – were both apprehended in Budapest on Saturday.
‘As a mother, losing a son and a grandbaby was just horrific,’ said Yeomans.
‘They caused such horrific events. I’m very relieved that they were found.
‘It’s been so hard that, for months, we’ve had to be so silent. You can’t share your heart when they are on the loose. We were just waiting and praying that they were found.’
She describes her son as a ‘phenomenal father’, a loving son, an ambitious and talented entrepreneur, and someone who was ‘continuously driven for excellence’.
Jonni Yeomans from Kamloops, British Colombia – whose son Tyler Pratt was murdered in February – has spoken of her relief that the two people accused of his death have been arrested. Yun ‘Lucy’ Lu Li, a 25-year-old wealthy Instagram influencer triplet, and her Slovakian boyfriend, Oliver Karafa, 28, were detained in Budapest on Saturday
Yeomans’s son, Tyler, was killed on February 28 in Hamilton, Ontario, in a shooting which left his pregnant fiancee fighting for her life. She lost the baby, but survived as a witness to the crime
Yeomans, who owns a hair salon in Kamloops, British Colombia, and is studying for her PhD in theology, told DailyMail.com that the family had been ‘devastated’ by Pratt’s death.
She did not know her son’s accused killers.
‘Lucy’ Li, one of triplets who post frequent pictures of themselves on social media, has agreed to her extradition back to Canada
‘When his fiancee was able to communicate, we found out,’ she said.
‘I went online, and found out more. I don’t know a lot of details, and as a mom I’m just focused on making sure my family are OK.’
Yeomans said that his 26-year-old girlfriend spent several weeks in intensive care following the attack.
‘As hard as it is for us, it’s also incredibly difficult for her,’ she said.
‘She is a witness. She wasn’t supposed to make it either. With all that she’s gone through.
‘She’s doing incredibly well, physically. Her body has made an amazing recovery, and we are blessed – it’s been an answer to prayer.
‘We’re really proud of her, and she’s such a fighter. She’s going to be able to share the truth.’
Jonni Yeomans is pictured with her husband, daughter Abra, 26, and son Ashton, 22
Yun ‘Lucy’ Lu Li, 25, and her boyfriend, Oliver Karafa, 28, were both apprehended in Budapest on Saturday, wanted on charges of murder over the fatal February shooting of Tyler Pratt, 38, in Ontario, Canada
Yeomans said that she did not know why her son had been targeted.
He was in the process of moving from his family’s region of British Colombia to his fiancee’s region, around Toronto.
‘He was always moving forward,’ she said, adding that she did not want to speculate about motives.
Her son, she said, was an entrepreneur – describing him as ‘so hard working’.
He launched a diamond company, Hard as Diamonds, and then a weight loss and wellness supplement company, Elite Organic Nutrition. He was working on an app at the time of his death, she said.
She last saw him in early December. Pratt was hoping to return to the Vancouver area for Christmas, but the COVID restrictions prevented it.
‘I always told him at the end of our conversations that I loved him, as I said goodbye,’ Yeomans said.
‘And I’m so grateful that the last words I said to him would have been: I love you, Ty.’
Pratt, a father of three children under the age of 18, was ‘a phenomenal father,’ Yeomans said.
He graduated from the Catholic St Anne’s Academy in Kamloops and was passionate about the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.
Yeomans, her husband and two children Abra, 26, and Ashton, 22, have planted flowers in the red, white and blue of the team in their yard, in Pratt’s memory.
‘He was continuously driven for excellence,’ Yeomans said.
‘I’m so proud of him. He gave his heart and soul to hockey, and would take his kids.
‘We are planning a celebration of his life, now that COVID restrictions have eased a little. We held his funeral in Vancouver and it was so difficult, with the full COVID lockdown, 10 person limits, and his fiancee still in hospital.
‘It was just devastating. The most devastating news you can receive in life. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that.’
The Toronto Sun reported that at a hearing in Hungary on Wednesday, Li agreed to be extradited to Canada.
She ‘consented to her extradition with the application of the principle of specialty, according to which… Canadian authorities may only prosecute her for the charges stated in the extradition request,’ the paper said.
Li is reported to be from a wealthy family with ties to Canada’s Liberal Party.
Her boyfriend, Karafa, meanwhile, is a native of Slovakia and is will fight extradition back to Canada.
Meanwhile, during the hearing, new details about the murder mystery emerged, with Karafa accused of firing the fatal bullet that led to Pratt’s death.
The pair are accused of killing Tyler Pratt, 39, during a ‘business meeting’
Li is reported to be from a wealthy family with ties to Canada’s Liberal Party
Li (left) is one of a set of triplets. She and her sisters have built a following for themselves on social media by posing in matching dresses and skimpy swimsuits.
Investigators soon identified Karafa and Li as the people responsible for the shooting, although they would not say what led them to that conclusion.
Police learned that the couple fled to Eastern Europe within 24 hours of the incident, traveling through several countries, including Karafa’s native Slovakia and the Czech Republic, before arriving in Budapest, Hamilton Police Det.-Sgt. Jim Callender told CBC.ca.
Hamilton Police Service recognized the efforts of the Hungarian Fugitive Active Search Team in making the arrests.
Li’s mother, Hong Wei ‘Winnie’ Liao, is president of the Toronto-based asset management firm Respon International Group with extensive political connections.
She has been photographed shaking hands with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and posing with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Li is one of a set of triplets. She and her sisters have built a following for themselves on social media by posing in matching dresses and skimpy swimsuits.
‘We are deeply shocked, disturbed and puzzled by Lucy’s involvement in the unfortunate incident,’ the family said in a statement to a Chinese news outlet, which was translated by The National Post.
In 2014, Karafa was found guilty of impaired driving causing death; driving while over legal limit of alcohol; criminal negligence cause death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle cause death, and was sentenced to five years in prison, reported CTV.
The conviction stemmed from an April 2012 crash, in which Karafa got behind the wheel drunk and was driving at twice the speed limit when he crashed his car, causing his passenger, 19-year-old David Chiang, to be ejected from the vehicle and smash head first into a pole. The victim died at the scene.