LOS ANGELES (TCD) -- Officials are ramping up reward money for information regarding the killing of 16-year-old Tioni Theus, who was found dead on the freeway.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Jan. 26 that there is $110,000 in potential award money for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing Theus. According to the statement, Los Angeles County is offering $10,000, while the city of Los Angeles and state officials are offering $50,000 each.
Gascón said, "Sixteen-year-old Tioni was murdered in cold blood and her killer has yet to be brought to justice. We are asking for the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator so that we may hold this person accountable."
According to KTLA-TV, Theus' body was discovered Jan. 8 on the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles at the Manchester off-ramp. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the neck. Gascón reportedly said there might be some evidence that she was a victim of human trafficking.
NBC Los Angeles reports Gascón said court records noted Theus was a victim of CSEC, which stands for commercial sexual exploitation of children. Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office special adviser Tiffany Blacknell said, "Children cannot consent to sex work," adding Theus "was a child. Her life mattered."
Additionally, California Highway Patrol Assistant Chief Jesus Holguin called for any potential witnesses to step forward. He said, "There has to be individuals out there that eye-witnessed at least a portion, if not the entirety, of this case."
Theus was last seen Jan. 7 when she reportedly went to go meet an "Instagram friend" at a party, KTLA reports.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell said in Gascón's written statement, "It is my hope that the rewards shared today help bring forth answers and justice for Tioni’s loved ones and the South LA community that shares the pain of this tragedy. Tioni Theus was loved. She was a promising student and like many 16 year olds, she enjoyed dancing and hanging out with her friends. Tioni and her family were robbed of her right to grow up and live a full life."