$50K reward seeks ‘justice for Julia’ nearly 2 years after Tujunga wash death

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The city of Los Angeles is offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the identification and conviction of anyone who may be responsible for the murky death of a La Crescenta mother whose decomposed body was found in the Tujunga Canyon Wash nearly two years ago.

The City Council voted 12-0 on Friday to adopt the reward motion that was submitted by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. Mayor Eric Garcetti was set to sign the motion Wednesday afternoon, city officials said.

The decomposed body of Julia Moniz, 34, was found next to a homeless encampment near Big Tujunga Canyon Road and Oro Vista Street in Tujunga on Oct. 17, 2015. She was last seen alive by her family twelve days prior, according to authorities.

The reward will “help the case progress, and hopefully get someone arrested and we can finally get some closure for all of this,” said sister Sarah Moniz, who is now raising Julia’s two young children. “It’s been a whirlwind of just drama, confusion and trying to figure out who is responsible and what actually happened to her.”

RELATED STORY: Family of woman found dead in Tujunga Wash offers $10,000 reward

The family had recently announced a $10,000 reward for information about her sister’s death but this motion would replace it, Sarah Moniz said. The reward will be in effect for at least six months.

Rodriguez, through a spokesman, said she introduced the motion because she supports the Moniz family’s efforts “in seeking justice for Julia and in making our communities safer for all residents.”

Julia Moniz’s cause of death was determined to be “methamphetamine intake and other unascertained factors,” according to Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. However, the final mode of death — whether suicide, homicide, natural or accidental — could not be determined.

While Julia Moniz had a high level of methamphetamine in her liver that would be enough to kill her, “her death occurred under unknown circumstances,” according to the autopsy report.

“Her body was found partially unclothed and appears to have been dumped,” the report stated. “The circumstances are suspicious, and homicide is not ruled out.”

Julia Moniz had battled drug addiction for years, according to her family. Sarah Moniz spoke to a homeless man who told her he took her sister to the encampment to get drugs.


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Moniz has said she also spoke to a different homeless man who admitted hitting her sister with an object there during an apparent dispute. A homeless woman told Moniz that at one point, she wanted to help her sister but that she was so bloody that she got queasy and had to turn around and leave her, she said.

Los Angeles Police Department Detective Ken White said Wednesday that the investigation is still fluid and that he and his staff are in search of the truth. Hopefully, the sizeable reward will motivate someone to come forward with information, he said.

“There’s a lot of nefarious activity that takes place” in these homeless encampments, said White of the Operations-Valley Bureau Homicide Unit. “If (people there) are not working, they have to get money, and how do they get it?”

Anyone with information about Sarah Moniz’s death is asked to call Detective White at 818-374-9550.


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