Troy Marie Daniels was born to Barbara Daniels on December 10, 1998. No father was listed on her birth certificate.
Troy and her mom lived with Barbara's parents when Troy was growing up, and Troy spent a lot of time with her grandmother, Tina, while Barbara worked. Even when she and her mom moved into their own apartment, Troy still went to her grandparents' house most days after school and stayed with her grandmother until Barbara got off work.
It was Tina who first took Troy to dance classes. As many little girls do, Troy started with ballet, and as her talent became more apparent, she also studied other styles, expanding her repertoire to include jazz, tap and more. Barbara encouraged her daughter to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer, and she worked as many extra hours as she needed to so they could afford for Troy to get all the dance training she needed.
Troy loved her dance classes, and she knew how much her mother was sacrificing to make them possible, so she never complained about any of the things she didn't have. She never wore the latest fashions or had a top-of-the-line computer or cell phone. She's never had her own car or gone on spring break vacations with her friends. But none of that ever mattered to Troy as long as she had her dancing.
When it came time for her to start looking at colleges, Troy wanted to go to the University of Mississippi where her mother had studied until she dropped out because she was pregnant. At first, Barbara tried to persuade Troy to choose any other school, but Troy was determined. When she was accepted at Ole Miss, Barbara supported her decision. Troy also auditioned for as many scholarships and grants as she could to ease the financial burden on her mother.
When Troy was very young, she sometimes asked about her father, but Barbara always deflected her questions, saying he simply wasn't a part of their lives. Eventually, Troy stopped asking.
The subject never came up again until Troy was invited to tour Europe with her dance troupe and Barbara didn't have the money to pay her way. That's when Barbara told Troy about Victor Jennings. She said Victor was her father, and he lived in Oxford, but he wasn't a good man or a nice person. But he did have money, Barbara said, and she would ask him to help his daughter go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Later, Barbara told Troy that Victor had refused to give her any money, but she thought he might change his mind so Troy shouldn't give up hope yet.
When Troy heard Victor was dead, she was sure she'd lost her last chance to go on the tour.