Nebraska teen uses senior photo shoot to honor father killed in Afghanistan

More than 10 years after his death, she’s keeping her father’s memory alive in her senior portraits.

Senior photos honor teen's late father

AURORA, Neb. (KOLN/Gray News) - Thousands of people are liking, sharing and commenting on a Nebraska high school senior's photos, but these aren't your typical senior pictures. They honor her late father who died in 2008 while fighting in Afghanistan.

Aurora High School senior Julia Yllescas said when she went to take her senior pictures, she wanted him to be there in some way.

Army Captain Robert Yllescas was injured by an IED and flown to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he died a month later. He was then buried in Osceola, Neb.

"Why it has hit my heart so hard is that I almost felt when I saw those pictures, that he truly was there,” Julia Yllescas said.

On Saturday, Julia Yllescas had her senior pictures taken and sent in photos to the photographer to see if she could edit her father into some of the shots. This way, she could keep a piece of her father’s memory through her last year of high school.

"Because sometimes it feels like where are you? Why did you have to go,” Julia Yllescas said.

The two pictures she received so far show her sitting and standing next to a faint shadow of her father in uniform.

Being an active duty military wife herself, the photographer said she was honored to take the photos.

"I was teary eyed when I was editing them, all I could think in my head is, ‘I don’t ever want to have to do this for my own kids,’” Susanne Beckmann said.

And although he is not there by her side physically, the pictures show Julia Yllescas will never be without her dad.

"Just to have that on my wall and be like, ‘No he is with me, even though I can’t physically see him,’” Julia Yllescas said.

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