Family remembers Aisha and Leilani, Batlow toddlers lost to fire

Aisha and Leilani (2nd and 3rd from left) with their cousins last Christmas.

The family of twin three-year-old Batlow girls Aisha and Lailani Dubois have been remembering the girls and surrounding their mother, Tanyka Ford, after the girls lost their lives in a house fire Monday morning. The fire started some time after 11am Monday at the home on Mayday Rd.

The twins were inside the home while Ms Ford and her son were outside and first responders had to force entry through the front door, but were unable to save the girls. Police are continuing their investigation and say they do not yet know where the blaze originated, though there was a fire in the enclosed fireplace at the time of the incident. They have also not addressed how the girls were separated from their mother.

The girls loved being the pool last Christmas with their cousins.

Jazmyne Ford, Tanyka’s sister, lives in Wangaratta, VIC, and said the distance prevented her from visiting as often as she wanted, but remembers the girls as “so cheeky,” loving their time in the pool with their cousins last Christmas.

She wrote in memoriam:

“To my beautiful nieces Aisha and Lailani, there are no words to explain how much joy you brought to our lives. You were born little fighters, were always together and were loved by so many! My only comfort is you have poppy up there with you to look after you. We will never ever forget you and your cheekiness and mischief. We all love you and will miss you everyday for the rest of our lives Aunty Jazz”

Jazmyne said the girls were “special twins,” never apart and caring for each other constantly.

“If you gave one a cookie, they would share it with the other one,” she remembered. 

The girls were identical, and the only differences were the different earrings they would wear and a small scar on one of the girls. 

Investigators wrapped up their examination of the site Tuesday afternoon.

Despite their physical similarities, Jazmyne said they had distinct personalities.

“Aisha Lee Dubois was the daredevil, always the first to do something new and daring. Lailani Michelle Dubois was the quieter of the 2,” said the girls’ aunt.

Investigations Tuesday afternoon were continuing, with investigators wrapping up their work at the crime scene mid-afternoon. 

“It’s a particularly horrific incident, they’re two little girls… It’s just devastatingly sad,” Riverina Police Superintendent Bob Noble said when he visited the site Monday afternoon, describing the tragedy as a ribbon that would trace its way through the family’s history for decades.

Most of the family’s belongings were incinerated in the fire which started Monday morning around 11am.

“You can only… imagine what they’re going through and their broader family as well, obviously, is struggling.”

Levi Ford, the girls’ uncle, established a GoFundMe account for Tanyka, her son and the girls’ funeral expenses, since the home was a complete loss. As of 4pm Tuesday, it had raised nearly $3000 from 51 donors with a goal of just $2000.