A young South Florida woman killed herself just two days after being jumped and brutally beaten. More than a year later, her mother is taking her fight for justice to court. Here’s the Nightteam’s Karen Hensel with tonight’s 7 Investigates.
This is cell phone video we first aired in May 2021.
Voice on the video: “She got beat.”
It’s grainy, but shows Tyler Harper being beaten by five people in front of her then 3-year-old son Kai.
Voice of Kai, Tyler’s son: “Don’t do that to my mommy.”
It is also the video that propelled her mother, Sasha Paynter, into a fight of her own.
Sasha Paynter, Tyler’s mom: “That’s her car. They’re stomping on her. Nobody does anything.”
Two days after the attack in Sunrise, the 22-year-old hanged herself from a balcony. After her suicide, a police detective determined there was “insufficient evidence” to move forward with the beating case, and 16 months later, no one has been charged.
Sasha Paynter: “Everyone on that block knows who did it, who did what. I want the right thing to be done. I feel like the police dropped the ball in their investigation. They didn’t push hard enough.”
So Sasha is pushing back in federal court. She filed a lawsuit against Sunrise Police, the Broward State Attorney’s Office and others, saying the investigation failed her daughter.
Sasha Paynter: “I’m carrying that torch until something is done.”
Neighbors videotaped, as three women attacked Tyler in a jealous rage over a man. Two men also joined in and began beating her. When Tyler escaped, the attackers threw cement blocks and rocks at her vehicle. Neighbors called police, but her attackers ran off. As police arrived, they mistakenly handcuffed her.
Tyler Harper: “I’m not calming down until somebody gets my kid. I need my kid.”
Tyler was clearly bloodied, bruised and had one eye swollen shut.
Officer: “What’s your name?”
Tyler Harper: “My name is Tyler Harper. I came here for him.”
Officer: “You see him?”
Tyler Harper: “Yes.”
Officer: “All right.”
Tyler Harper: “Thank you.”
Tyler Harper: “You’re OK, right?”
Officer: “She called them all by name you said, right?”
Another officer: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. She was, she was listing names.”
Tyler told police the names of the five people who attacked her and where they lived. She even signed this police affidavit that she wanted them prosecuted.
Tyler Harper: “The injury is more in here than it is out here.”
Telling words, because two days later, she would take her life.
Sasha Paynter: “The fact that she was jumped, beaten to a pulp, her car was totally destroyed. Why aren’t any charges for that?”
The lawsuit states there was “flagrant disregard to bring the offenders to justice.”
Sasha Paynter: “You definitely cannot have a clear conscience, because what you did led to what she did.”
Sunrise Police and the Broward State Attorney’s Office would not comment on the lawsuit.
Kai in video: “I see her waking up.”
Sasha Paynter in video: “When you meditate, do you see her waking up?”
Kai in video: “Mmhmm.”
Sasha is now raising Kai and says her grandson clings to his mother’s ashes.
Sasha Paynter: “We have brunch or stuff like that, he wants to take her, so we put her in the car, so we are traveling around with her urn, and, you know, he wants to take her into restaurants.”
Bedtime brings some of the hardest moments.
Sasha Paynter: “At night he, ‘I want momma, I miss momma.’ Everything is, ‘I want momma back. Why did the monsters hurt momma?’ I really hope that someone can help me in this fight. It’s not right.”
A mother on a mission to make it right and find justice.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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