Tioni Theus: Teen's dad recalls last moments with his daughter

"I had a feeling something was wrong, I begged her to stay," says Darien Jackson, the father of Tioni Theus.

Jackson's daughter was found shot to death with her body found dumped on the side of the Manchester onramp to the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles.

Jackson saw his daughter the night before the body was found. He had told her before she left the house to consider not going to the party she was set to attend.

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According to the teen's father, Theus had been down since her mother was placed in a rehabilitation facility after she was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run crash. The teen left for the party on the night of Friday, January 17 with a friend who messaged her on Instagram.

Drivers reported the teen's body to CHP on Sunday at about 8 a.m. Investigators say they don’t know how long the body had been there, but believe she was shot in the neck somewhere else, and then left on the side of the freeway. 


"Who does that?!" says Jackson, adding that "A parent shouldn’t be burying their child."

The news of his daughter's horrific death comes about four years after Jackson had to bury his 19-year-old son Darien Jackson Jr. The grieving dad says Darien Jr. was leaving work to see his girlfriend when he was shot and killed.

"I still don't know why," Jackson says of his son's death.

Investigators on Tioni’s case are following leads, but asking anyone with information to call 323-644-9557. 

There has been criticism that this case has not received the same attention as other recent murders in the news. 

"This investigation is top priority," insists CHP officer Roberto Gomez. 

As of Thursday, there are no surveillance videos of suspects in cases like that of Brianna Kupfer, who was killed in a Hancock Park furniture store where she worked. The arrest of that suspect has received a lot of coverage. Here in South Los Angeles and Inglewood, community activists like Najee Ali from Project Hope say they are hoping that Theus’ case is getting as much attention from investigators. 

Jackson Sr. puts it this way, "If I were a rich man, perhaps her killer would be in custody, who knows? But I did talk to the CHP detective, and he is telling me he is giving it his all, and I trust he is." 

He has to, he explains. His sanity depends on the investigation after losing two of his children.

"I don't know if I can take it," he said. "I have no more left in me."

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