LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced Wednesday that 16-year-old Tioni Theus may have been the victim of human trafficking. Theus was found dead, her body dumped on the side of the 110 Freeway earlier this month.
The revelation came to light during a press conference where Gascón and other city leaders demanded answers for the teen's murder.
"There is evidence indicating that this young girl may have been the victim of human trafficking," Gascón said, "and this speaks to why we need to do more for survivors of human trafficking, especially children who are exceptionally vulnerable."
Leaders also announced total reward money for information leading to the arrest of Theus' killer now totaling $110,000 dollars, including $60,000 from the city of Los Angeles, $10,000 from Los Angeles County, and another $50,000 from the state of California.
Tioni Theus (FOX 11)
"While this reward and rewards established by my colleagues in no way alleviates the tragedy that has occurred it's an incentive to those in the community and beyond to speak up and prove information about what occurred leading up to her Jan. 8 murder," LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said. "Time and time again, missing and victimized Black women and girls are overlooked and lack the appropriate media attention in comparison to their counterparts."
"It is imperative that we not allow implicit bias or the adultification of Black girls to continue to influence the lack of media coverage or public outrage over their murders," Mitchell said, adding later, "She didn't deserve to die."
Gascón didn't elaborate on what led investigators to the conclusion that Theus may have been the victim of human trafficking.
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