Los Angeles will consider a $60,000 reward for tips leading to the the arrest and prosecution of the person who killed 16-year-old Tioni Theus, whose body was found on a freeway onramp in South Los Angeles earlier this month.
Both the City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are expected to vote on a combined reward on Tuesday morning to bring more attention to the teen’s slaying. Tioni was shot in the neck, and her body was dumped along a 110 Freeway onramp near Manchester Avenue, several miles north from her home in Compton, according to police.
Councilmembers Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson will introduce a motion for a $50,000 reward during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, and L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell is expected to introduce a similar motion for a $10,000 reward during the Board of Supervisors meeting.
“Tioni was a young lady with so much promise, joy and spirit, with God-given gifts and talents to give to the world. She had so much to live for and countless unfinished dreams,” Price said in a statement. “It’s disheartening to know that the person or persons responsible for her killing are still on the loose while a family and entire community continues to grieve in search for answers.”
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the teen’s killing with assistance from the Los Angeles Police Department. A motive has not been determined in the fatal shooting, and no suspect identifications or vehicle descriptions have been released.
Tioni was last seen Jan. 7 leaving her father’s house in Compton. She told him she was meeting a friend to go to a party, but she never returned.
Family described the girl as vibrant, energetic and intelligent, but said she suffered a traumatic life episode after her mother was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash that left her physically and mentally disabled. Her cousin, Nafeesah Kincy, said Tioni met a man in his 20s on Instagram who pulled her into prostitution.
“We’re definitely not pretending that Tioni was an angel. She faced trauma,” Kincy said. “I want to humanize her. I don’t want her to be seen as a prostitute or a runaway or somebody that people feel like ‘Oh, well, they live that lifestyle.’ ”
Family members held a vigil near where the teen’s body was found to bring attention to her killing. The previous lack of reward money left many questioning why a $250,000 reward was offered in the slaying of Brianna Kupfer yet none had been provided in Tioni’s death.
Kupfer was stabbed to death in a Hancock Park furniture store where she worked several days after Tioni’s body was discovered. The suspect in her slaying was arrested one day after Councilmember Paul Koretz made a motion for the city to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the woman’s killer. The amount was increased to $250,000 by contributions from the community.