Sheriff’s officials and family members of a 53-year-old wife and mother who was shot dead outside a home in Carson gathered Friday to announce that the reward for information leading to her killer has been increased from $10,000 to $35,000.
Tauvaaga “Judy” Lauvai, who was visiting from Arizona to celebrate Father’s Day with her family, was shot on a family member’s front porch just before 9 p.m. on June 16, when a light-colored, four-door sedan stopped in front of the home in the 22700 block of Island Avenue and someone inside the car opened fire.
Lauvai was shot in the chest and died at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Another family member’s leg was grazed by a bullet.
Sheriff’s Capt. Christopher Bergner said investigators have found no evidence that the family was specifically targeted and that the shooting may have been a case of mistaken identity.
“This was a good family that was gathering for a family event the day before Father’s Day,” Bergner said. “They were enjoying each other’s company. There was no criminal activity going on, nothing that would to lend us to believe that they were a specific target.”
Lauvai worked at Arizona State University as an administrative assistant. The Carson High School graduate lived in the city for more than 50 years before moving out of state. She is survived by her husband of 28 years and four grown children.
Lauvai was one of two women shot within a five-hour period in Carson that evening.
Investigators released surveillance video of what they believe was the car involved entering and leaving the area.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors had approved a $10,000 reward. A second reward of $25,000 was later sponsored by the city of Carson and announced at the Friday news conference at sheriff’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
“Each time we ask for the public’s help, we always want people to understand that the victim is not anonymous to us. Help us find Judy Lauvai’s killer,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at the news conference.
Added Lauvai’s grieving husband Raymond Lauvai: “I lost my wife, my kids lost their mother and my granddaughter lost her nana.”
“I ask that anyone with any kind of information find the humanity and decency to come forward,” he said.
Anyone with more information about the shooting was urged to call sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza at (323) 890-5564.
Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers by calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or at lacrimestoppers.org.
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