The family of a police officer killed in the line of duty Photoshopped him into their Christmas card, and it’s helping them cope with their loss

The family Christmas card also includes late Tyler Edenhofer.

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The family Christmas card also includes late Tyler Edenhofer.
source
Courtesy of Julie Linville
  • At just 24 years old, Tyler Edenhofer died in the line of duty in 2018, and his family has not taken a family photo since.
  • This year, that changed, as his stepmother, Joellen Simons, brought the family together to take a picture for their Christmas card.
  • The photographer, Julie Linville, edited Edenhofer into the photo, moving Simons to tears, and giving great comfort to his siblings.
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When Joellen Simons saw her family’s holiday card this year, she was moved to tears.

After losing Tyler Edenhofer, her stepson and a Department of Public Safety trooper, in the line of duty in Arizona in 2018, Simons thought her family photos would always have a missing piece. But photographer Julie Linville decided to Photoshop Edenhofer into the images so that the whole family could be pictured together again.

“The one semblance of peace that we have is feeling that he is with us and watching over us,” Simons told Insider. “When I saw the photos, it was more than I could have ever imagined. It was the image of how I picture Tyler, still with us. It made us feel more complete.”

In one photo, Edenhofer stands next to his family – which includes Simons, Edenhofer’s brother and sister, Simons’ partner, and her parents – in his uniform. In another photo, the late trooper appears to be leaning against a tree.

Edenhofer leans against a tree.

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Edenhofer leans against a tree.
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Courtesy of Julie Linville

Simons said the family actually hadn’t taken a family photo in three years.

“Honestly, I fought back tears for most of the hour-and-a-half ride to the venue for photos,” she said. “For me, on that morning, having photos done felt like a reminder that Tyler wasn’t here, and we were taking our first recording of our family that would never feel complete again.”

That changed when Linville offered to Photoshop Edenhofer into the holiday photo.

“As soon as Joellen told me that they had lost a son, it was just an immediate reaction to offer to do this for her and include Tyler in the family photo,” Linville told Insider. “I know what it’s like to lose someone and how an image like this can bring a sense of comfort.”

Edenhofer is on the far right.

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Edenhofer is on the far right.
source
Courtesy of Julie Linville

Edenhofer was killed in Phoenix on the last night of his field training when a man took the gun of another trooper and shot him. He was only 24 years old.

For now, Simons said she is glad that Edenhofer can live on in these photos.

“My kids have these photos of their older brother in their rooms and it brings peace to them knowing he is watching over them,” Simons said. “Julie gave a gift to them that literally reminds them of the beautiful way they imagine their brother, which most definitely helps them cope with this tragedy.”