Raw emotions were on full display as the family of Tioni Theus gathered for a vigil outside the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station in the Florence area of South Los Angeles on Tuesday.
On Jan. 8, the body of Theus, 16, was found near the Manchester off-ramp of the 110 Freeway, and the killer has not yet been caught.
Theus died from a gunshot wound to the neck, according to the L.A. County coroner.
“We’re not talking about an adult. We’re talking about a 16-year-old child. She was thrown on the side of the freeway like trash and she’s a child,” said Lekesia Barrett, Theus’ cousin.
The California Highway Patrol is leading the investigation, but LAPD Chief Michel Moore was on hand to lend his support to the family and bring awareness to the case.
“We will work alongside the CHP in an effort to solve this terrible homicide, this needless violence and loss of this life,” Moore said.
Darien Jackson, Theus’ father, said his daughter’s death “just don’t make no sense.”
“It just hurt … I feel like I died … It just hurt. You lose everything,” Jackson said.
Family members say Theus had a promising future, and the community is hoping her killers turn themselves in.
“Losing her has put a damper on this family. I don’t know if we can deal with it anymore. So whoever did this to my niece, can you please turn yourself in?,” said Jasmin Johnson, Theus’ aunt.
“Part of me is gone … I hope they catch whoever did it,” Darien Jackson added.
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