“He’s not a monster and he’s not a thief,” said Tyler James Yeager’s ex-wife Nikki Schab during an emotional conversation about the U.S. Marine veteran jailed in Mexico.
She shared pictures of the two of them together when they were 21, sitting together holding hands.
They are mementoes of the life they shared before, she says, his PTSD got really bad.
Schab said she’s shocked the man she loves, the Marine veteran who served the United States, is the man Mexican prosecutors say was arrested April 23 in Mexico for a series of robberies in Tijuana.
Stolen cars, cash and materials to make fake titles were all found in a home where Yeager was staying according to Mexican officials.
Schab said that’s not the Tyler she knows.
“He’s very proud and very fun and he loves life," she said. "I think he was more or less down there and got trapped in his PTSD and he thinks he's still at war."
Yeager is a 39-year-old former USMC rifleman and scout sniper who served at Camp Pendleton with the 2ND Battalion 5th Marines 1st Division from 1996 to 2000.
Tijuana police said a surveillance picture showed Yeager with a shotgun walking near homes minutes after a home invasion.
“He’s a good man. He’s just lost. He needs help,” Schab said through tears.
Three days before Yeager's arrest, Schab said she spoke to him via Facebook.
She said they joked about their dog named after Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager while urging him to go home to Montana to be with family who loves him.
“He’s still somebody. His dad is waiting for him to come home," she said.
The United States Consulate in Mexico is helping Yeager while he's behind bars.
Documents show he was at a VA center in 2015 that houses homeless vets in need of help with drug and alcohol addiction.