A string of unsolved child killings in St. Louis since April has prompted officials to offer a total of $100,000 in rewards leading to arrests in the cases.
The announcement came after Jurnee Thompson, 8, was fatally shot Friday night while she sat outside a restaurant with her family, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John W. Hayden Jr. said.
Officials also are offering $25,000 rewards in the cases of Kayden Johnson, 2; Kennedi Powell, 3; and Eddie Hill, 8, Hayden said.
The money, which was provided by private donors and totaled $100,000, would be available only until Sept. 1, officials said.
That deadline “expresses the urgency of this situation,” Mayor Lyda Krewson said Saturday.
Aside from Jurnee, the other children were killed between April and July, Hayden said.
Kayden was killed with his mother while they hid from intruders in their house, Hayden said. Kennedi and Eddie were gunned down in front of their homes, he added.
Hayden said the cases remained unsolved because of a lack of "significant" information from witnesses and others.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Jurnee was the 12th child or teen to die in St. Louis since April. There has been an arrest in only one case, the shooting death of 7-year-old Xavior Usanga earlier this month, the newspaper reported.
Usanga was playing with siblings in front of his home at the time, police said.
Speaking to reporters about the rewards, St. Louis Director of Public Safety Jimmie Edwards said he knew there were “many other homicides in our city without an arrest yet.”
“Our hearts go out to all the victims' families,” he said, adding he wished the city had the money to offer rewards in all of those cases.
“We do not,” he said.