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Reward In Murder Of Compton Teen Tioni Theus Jumps To $110K

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible in the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl, whose body was dumped alongside the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles, has increased to $110,000.

Tioni Theus
An undated photo of Tioni Theus, who was found shot to death at the side of the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles on Jan. 8, 2022. (Credit: Nafeesah Kincy)

Tioni Theus' body was discovered Jan. 8 on the side of the freeway on the Manchester Avenue on-ramp near South Figueroa Street.

During a news conference Wednesday, Assistant California Highway Patrol Chief Jesus Holguin said that California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a $50,000 reward, which brings the total possible reward money being offered for the capture of Theus' killer to $110,000, which includes another likely $50,000 pledged by the L.A. City Council, and $10,000 from L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

"We're very confident that we're moving forward in a positive direction and hopefully have some good news in the very near future," Holguin said during a Zoom news conference in which L.A. County District Attorney George Gascon joined other elected officials.

Gascon said there is evidence indicating that "this young girl may have been the victim of human trafficking," and noted that the investigation into her death is ongoing.

"We need the public's help," Gascón said. "Please help bring Tioni's murderer to justice, and if you have any information, please contact the CHP."

Last Saturday, a group of activists gathered and pushed for elected officials to offer a reward for information in the girl's killing. They said then that the absence of a reward in the killing of the young Black girl stood in stark contrast to the $250,000 reward offered in the search for the killer of 24-year-old Brianna Kupfer, a Pacific Palisades resident and UCLA grad student who was fatally stabbed Jan. 13 inside a boutique furniture store in Hancock Park.

Tioni was last 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.

The investigation is being handled by the CHP, but the LAPD offered investigative assistance. LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission the CHP hasn't yet identified a suspect and does not yet have a description of the suspect or involved vehicle.

Theus resided in Compton and attended Centennial High School.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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