Party Girl's Lifestyle May Have Led to Her Murder

Coke and cash found in victim's Northern Liberties apartment

By Karen Araiza
|  Monday, Jun 29, 2009  |  Updated 11:52 PM EDT
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Police Have Surveillance Video of Shootings

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Rian Thal was an event planner and promoter, a well-known "party girl" in the city's nightclub and hip-hop scene.

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Police Have Surveillance Video of Shootings

Friends of the young woman console one another. Police say security cameras recorded the shootings.
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Rian Thal's lifestyle may have led to her murder, according to police sources. Thal was a big party girl, known as "the white girl" in Philly's hip-hop and nightlife scene. The promoter and event planner hosted parties that attracted aspiring hip-hop rappers, pro athletes and the city's top drug dealers sources told The Daily News.

Thal and a male friend from Detroit were gunned down inside the trendy Navona apartment complex where she lived in Northern Liberties.

"She was not unfamiliar with drugs, money and rappers," one investigator told the paper. "She might have been questioned a lot of times."

Four kilos of cocaine and more than $100,000 were found inside Thal's apartment, according to investigators. "Whether it was hers, I don't have any idea," Homicide Lt. Philip Riehl told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Thal was sentenced to probation in 2001 for a drug charge in Delaware County, according to the Inky. "She was a nice girl, and she was just troubled with this drug problem," said defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr.,  who represented her in the Delco case. "I thought that she had put all this behind her," Peruto told the Inky.

"Obviously, she was targeted for what she was involved in and not where she lived," a police source told the Daily News. The Navona is part of the sprawling Piazza at Schmidt's, NoLib's new retail, living and entertainment complex.

Thal, 34, and a friend got off the elevator on the seventh floor and were walking down the hallway when three men in baseball hats shot them to death. Surveillance video caught the shooting from "dozens of camera angles." The men escaped and are still on the run.

On her MySpace page, friends are posting condolences and there are a ton of pictures from a big birthday bash at Plush in April. Some of Rian's friends got together Sunday at the Piazza. "She was a very sweet girl. I've known her for years. She's worked in the industry -- the restaurant and hospitality industry -- for a long time, and had a lot of friends," fellow promoter Thomas Updegrove told the Inquirer.

"She was down with all different rappers and dope on the edge of the music scene," said one investigator. "The question is who was she down with recently?"

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