Former Student-Athlete Faces Felony Charges

Louis Krauss, News Editor

Former College student-athlete Hannah Tyburski is facing felony charges for her involvement in a 2015 murder case that resulted in the death of her older sister.

Hannah was in the midst of her spring semester of sophomore year in 2015 when her mother, Janet Tyburski, was charged with suffocating her sister, Rachele, at their home in Lakewood, Ohio. Soon after, Janet allegedly picked up Hannah from Oberlin to assist in moving the body of the deceased sister to a field in North Ridgeville.

Hannah has since been indicted for tampering with a corpse, a crime that can carry up to 36 months in prison.

The case has been ongoing since the 26-year-old’s death. Most recently, a county judge in Elyria, Ohio approved $1,000 for a private investigator to look for additional evidence in the case on Jan. 30.

In December, Janet pled not guilty on the basis of insanity for her aggravated murder charge. However, mental health experts for the prosecution have deemed her competent to stand trial, The Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Because Janet’s trials have been repeatedly pushed back as her lawyers search for evidence, Hannah has been forced to wait on the court’s deliberation for her charges. According to Hannah’s lawyer, Kevin Spellacy, the trial has led to her staying at home most of the time. Spellacy said he hopes Janet eventually accepts the initial charge.

“It’s been a very difficult situation for [Hannah],” Spellacy said. “She’s basically waiting for her mom to do the right thing, and that’s to plead guilty.”

Spellacy did not say whether Hannah plans to return to Oberlin or is attending a different school, but he believes she will move on to something else once her mother’s charges are settled.

“Hannah is a bright and articulate young lady with an incredible future ahead of her, but her life is at home until her mom makes a decision,” he said. “[Janet] had some psychological issues, I guess, and those haven’t turned out in her favor, so it’s time to step up to the plate. One daughter is dead, why ruin the other’s life?”

Hannah was also a member of the College’s volleyball team in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons, starting in 23 games and receiving North Coast Athletic Conference Honorable Mention awards both years. Players and coaches declined to comment on Hannah or whether they had been following her situation.

Rachele, who was living with Janet at the time of her death, also had a 4-year-old son.

Although the trials are approaching the two-year mark, Spellacy added that patience is important when dealing with murder charges.

“Eventually it will come to a head, and we’ll hopefully resolve Hannah’s case,” Spellacy said.

Janet’s lawyers declined to say what evidence led to the investigator hire or what they anticipate will happen at the next trial session.

“I can’t say what’s going to happen at the trial, but we do the best we can for our clients,” said Nick Hanek, one of Janet’s three lawyers. “When we’re defending someone, we try to get a not guilty.”

After completion of the investigation by Janet’s team, her next trial is set for April 11.