Authorities on Monday announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a hit-and-run driver responsible for killing 15-year-old runaway Desiree Lawson on Dec. 26 in Canyon Country, officials said.
“With this reward, I hope to encourage the public’s participation in offering detectives any tips or leads that may help them find the suspect responsible for this crime,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger in a statement issued Monday.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion from Barger to establish the reward on Jan. 24, said Tony Bell, assistant chief deputy and communications deputy for Barger.
A news conference announcing the reward was held Monday at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station in Santa Clarita.
Lawson was struck and killed, officials said, at 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 26, while she crossed the northbound lanes in the 27500 block of Sierra Highway south of Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. A suspect’s vehicle then drove away from the area, officials said.
The hit-and-run vehicle was reported to be an early 1990s sedan with a gold, low front end with possible damage, according to the sheriff’s department.
Sheriff’s department Sgt. Scott Shoemaker added that the vehicle is possibly a Toyota Camry or Pontiac Firebird with a low front end that is either gold or dark.
“There’s most likely damage to the front or driver’s side of the vehicle,” Shoemaker said after the news conference.
Previously, officials were looking for a man who could have seen the crash and he was later found. The man’s information about the crash supported another witness’s statement and he was not considered a suspect, Shoemaker added.
Since the accident occurred, tips have “sort of dried up” and law enforcement has not been able to locate the wanted vehicle or a suspect, the sergeant said.
“Hopefully we get somebody to call in,” Shoemaker said. “Even if they’re not interested in the reward, maybe they can call and give us information. It helps with the family getting closure on the case.”
A motorist leaving Lawson in the roadway is “pretty callous,” Shoemaker added.
“It seems like it would be difficult to have it bottled up and not want to come out and help regardless of the money part of it,” Shoemaker said of potential witnesses or even a passenger in the suspect’s vehicle.
The case is being investigated as a felony hit and run.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Santa Clarita Valley Station at 661-255-1121.
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