Community honors Talia Petoia in candlelight vigil

Published 12:05 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023

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Shooting victim remembered by family and friends


TRYON–On Saturday, June 17, the community gathered to honor Talia Petoia in a candlelight vigil at Tryon United Methodist Church.

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Talia Petoia’s life was cut short when she was shot by her boyfriend, Tyler Laughter, on March 10. Laughter was charged with involuntary manslaughter on March 17.

Petoia’s family and friends feel that the investigation was not thorough, saying pleas for further investigation were denied. In an effort to hire a private investigator the family started a GoFundMe page, where many members of the community stood behind the Petoias with hopes of seeing justice served. 

The Justice For Talia Petoia Team organized the vigil in honor of Talia’s memory and to raise awareness of domestic and sexual abuse.  

“Our intention was to show our support for the family and to keep Talia’s memory alive in the community,” says Abigail Stewart, a member of the Justice For Talia Petoia Team. “We knew we wanted to have music and art—things that Talia loved and that could bring people joy in such a dark time.”

The vigil featured live music performances by The Trophy Husbands and Allison-Leigh Rosenfeld, as well as a special gifting of artwork by Elizabeth Shanahan to the family of Talia Petoia. 

Reverend Lynnette Sills of Tryon United Methodist Church provided a memorial service.

The day ended with a moment of silence and a special candlelight vigil on the lawn of the church.

The Justice For Talia Petoia Team wants to thank everyone who put their hard work, dedication, support and love into the event. 

If you or anyone you know may be a victim of domestic or sexual abuse, contact  Steps to HOPE on its 24-hour crisis hotline at (828) 894-2340.