FLORIDA CITY, FLA. (WSVN) - - The mother of a 17-year-old girl who was fatally gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Florida City is urging witnesses to come forward after the star witness in her daughter’s case backed out.
Regina Talabert went on local radio Thursday morning to speak out on the 2015 incident. She summed up the biggest obstacle prosecutors now face.
“It’s hard to convince a jury without a witness,” she said on the air.
Police said her daughter, Noricia Talabert, was killed in the crossfire during the shooting.
Detectives arrested Christopher Walker, then 15 years old, in New York after authorities tracked him down.
As prosecutors built their case, the victim’s mother vowed to do everything she could to bring the accused killer to justice.
But prosecutors believe one key witness with whom they were working got cold feet.
“She would say she is going to court, but she didn’t,” said Regina.
And when that witness disappeared, the case crumbled.
In September, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office had no choice but to drop all charges.
With the killer believed to have gang ties, prosecutors think the star witness was scared for her life.
“They offered her witness protection, but she didn’t want it,” said Regina.
Detectives collected as much evidence as they could to help bring justice for the Talabert family, but no witness meant no case.
“I’m hurt. The system let me down,” said Regina.
Now the grieving mother is raising awareness to encourage more witnesses in similar cases to come forward.
As she begins her fight for others, Regina said she’s left with one lasting memory of her beloved daughter, who was a straight-A high school student.
“The day before she got killed she bought me a bottle of perfume and a beautiful blouse, and I said to her, ‘Noricia, baby, you don’t have to spend that kind of money on me, because you’re getting ready to go to college,'” she said. “She looked at me and gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘Mommy, I did it because I love you.’ Not knowing that I was going to lose her the very next day.”
Back in 2017, new laws were passed in Florida to better protect the identities of key witnesses.
Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.