The Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have posted a combined $60,000 in reward money and the California Highway Patrol and State of California have added $50,000, for a total of $110,000, for information leading to the person or people responsible for the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl whose body was found dumped alongside the Harbor (110) Freeway.
The actions come days after a group of activists pushed for elected officials to offer a reward for information in the killing of Tioni Theus, whose body was found Jan. 8 on the Manchester Avenue on-ramp near South Figueroa Street in South Los Angeles.
Tioni had last been seen Jan. 7 after telling a family member she was going to meet a friend to go to a party, officials said. No further information was provided, and no suspect description was available.
Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price’s office sent out a release on Jan. 24 saying Price is would co-present a motion, along with Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Tioni’s killer or killers.
Price said, “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. 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.
“I stand in solidarity with the Theus family and all Angelenos demanding justice in her name so that her family and loved ones can find solace in knowing that the ones who chose to end this vibrant girl’s life will answer to their crime.”
Harris-Dawson said he was grateful to community members who demanded that “everybody get involved to bring this assailant to justice.
“It is what we owe Tioni and to all the children of our community so … if anybody lays a hand on them, the community will rally to their protection and defense,” the councilman said.
The Board of Supervisors considered a motion on Jan. 25 calling for the county to establish a $10,000 reward. Supervisor Holly Mitchell introduced the motion.
“Ms. Theus lived in Compton and was a student at Centennial High School,” according to the county motion. “She was reportedly living with her father as her mother recovered from a serious hit-and-run accident. Family members say she was a straight-A student and enjoyed dance and golf.
“Investigators are urging anyone with information about this incident to contact the California Highway Patrol. A reward will encourage members of the public to come forward with information that can help identify the individual(s) responsible for her death.”
On Jan. 20, the California Highway Patrol posted photos of Tioni on Twitter and asked for anyone with information about her killing to call the agency at (323) 644-9557.
Tioni’s cousins told the Los Angeles Times the teen was good in school and enjoyed golfing, dancing and singing. But they said her life took a turn in 2019 when her mother was severely injured in a hit-and-run crash that has left her in a rehabilitation facility.
Tioni began rebelling after that, disappearing for long periods and eventually being pulled into prostitution and theft by a man she met on Instagram, the cousins told The Times.
“We’re definitely not pretending that Tioni was an angel,” cousin Nafeesah Kincy told the paper. “She faced trauma. 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.’
“It’s so many young women out here being victimized and being taken advantage of physically and sexually. So, it’s my cousin today. But it could be your cousin, your daughter, your friend tomorrow,” Kincy added.