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Justice for Talia Petoia

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My name is Alison and I'm seeking funds to help my sister Julie and her wonderful family find justice for their daughter (my niece) Talia Petoia:

On the night of Friday, March 10, 2023, the world was deprived of a precious ray of light and love. Talia Petoia was killed by a person using a handgun, and thus removed from the lives of her family and all the countless others who loved her. She died less than a week after her 27th birthday. (Pictured below, Talia with some of her siblings, mom and step-dad.)

Her boyfriend, Tyler Laughter (21), shot her through the heart and claims it was an accident. There is a documented history of domestic violence by Tyler toward Talia, though she never pressed charges. Recently, Talia’s family learned that Tyler had allegedly fired a handgun angrily in her presence, narrowly missing his own grandfather’s head. (Below: Talia at graduation)

Talia trusted the man who killed her because she always saw the best in people, and believed in goodness in the world. Nobody suspected that this relationship could end as tragically as it did. (Below: Talia with some of her siblings)

Talia’s family want justice for their daughter. (Below: Baby Talia -- 2nd from top -- with some of her siblings. Sorry for poor cropping in this template!)

Talia was a trusting, loving, energetic young woman with a future that was unfairly erased. Her physical beauty was only surpassed by her vibrant, empathetic and comforting spirit. She was a healer at heart, had a keen sense of humor, and loved to sing and be around those she loved.

Talia was not only a sister to a close and supportive family — where she was the second of 12 children — a cherished daughter, granddaughter and niece, but a great friend to any who was fortunate enough to know her. Talia recognized and proclaimed the beauty in everyone she met, and always made sure to remind them of their worth. (Below: Talia -- right -- with two of her sisters)

She was a unique and creative soul who expressed herself through music and performance. She auditioned for and co-starred in my short thesis film, “The Playground,” broadcast on Showtime, when she was just seven years old. (Below: Talia in Showtime's "The Playground." Photo by Tanon Sattarujawong)

She appeared in numerous plays at the Tryon Little Theater as a child and teen. In college and afterward, she worked with local improv theaters and choruses. She collaborated with her younger sister, Malynne, writing and performing heartfelt original songs. (Below: Talia -- 2nd from left -- with her mom Julie and two of her sisters)

Talia was a 2014 graduate of Polk County High School and graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 2022. She was employed as a waitress at Harper Eatery and Pub in downtown Tryon, NC, where she’d grown up in a safe and nurturing environment.

Talia’s memorial service on March 18 filled all available seats in the chapel of Tryon United Methodist Church in Tryon, NC. Other attendees watched a broadcast of Pastor Lynnette Sills’ beautiful service in the church’s community center or online.

Talia had countless friends in Tryon, Charlotte, and beyond. Most who attended the heartbreaking event wore pink in honor of Talia’s favorite color and her playful, light spirit. (Below: Talia with her mom)

The world is darker, our family is missing an essential piece, and we will mourn Talia, celebrate her, and remember her for all time. (Below: Baby Talia)

Our family requests funds to help find justice for Talia. The money will be handled by Talia's mother Julie. (Below: Young Talia in performance mode)

Excess funds will be donated to the Polk County Community Foundation to establish a scholarship in Talia's name. Please help ensure that Talia finds justice and that her legacy of love and creativity lives on. (Below: Talia with one of her brothers, mom, and stepdad)

We all feel helpless in the face of this enormous loss and by the sickening prevalence of shooting deaths in this country. Please consider turning your anguish into action by contributing.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and shared so far. Our family is deeply touched and grateful. Below: Baby Talia, days old, in her dad Ron's arms.


When Talia was shot, the first thing all of us who heard the horrible news did was look for details in the local press. For days, there was nothing. Then, a short article from the TRYON DAILY BULLETIN. Julie -- Talia's mom and my sister -- was the one who alerted the Bulletin to her daughter's killing.

Afterward, there was nothing until Julie noticed that a cyclist's tragic death was all over the papers. She contacted a WLOS reporter, who told her that when he'd phoned the sheriff about Talia's death -- three days after she was shot, and before the autopsy -- he'd been told it was an "accident" and there was nothing to report. The reporter was surprised by the answer. So when Julie contacted him, he interviewed her at her home and broadcast the story that night.

Below is news coverage that Talia's violent death has generated so far.

The Tryon Daily Bulletin--4/6/23:

The Tryon Daily Bulletin3-30-23: 3-31-23:
WLOS interviewed Julie yesterday and ran the video interview last night and this morning. Following is a link to an article on the interview, which includes the video and a transcript. The article is trending on WLOS. Please share with everyone you know to keep eyes and focus on this case:

Stay tuned. And please keep sharing. You may have noticed that we've raised the funding request: We are now reaching out beyond our small community of family and friends. About two-thirds of the funds raised so far have been used as a retainer to hire a legal team. Anything left over from the investigation and legal fees will go toward a Polk County Community scholarship in Talia's name.

Thank you.


  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $57 
    • 3 mos
  • Joy Sharp
    • $20 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 7 mos

Organiser and beneficiary

Alison Marek
Tryon, NC
Julie Daniels

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