Authorities announced a $50,000 reward on Thursday for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the murder of an 86-year-old woman who was found dead on Dec. 22 in her Windsor Square home.
Detectives said they have few leads, and hope the reward will provide an incentive for someone to come forward with information. They are asking that anyone who may have observed something out of the ordinary between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Dec. 22 in the neighborhood around the victim’s home in the 100 block of North Beachwood Drive to notify police.
“There [may be] someone out there who has something that will help,” said Lt. John Radtke, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau Homicide Unit. “We are looking at all possibilities.”
The victim, Antonia Yager, attended a charity dinner at the Wilshire Country Club on Dec. 21 and was dropped off at her residence that evening by a friend. The following morning, a caretaker who went to check on the victim found her body inside the home. Yager had been stabbed to death, according to police.
Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District, initiated the reward and called the murder a tragedy.
“No one should be harmed like that in any neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles,” LaBonge said. “It’s very important. We ask for the public’s help here. She was loved by many, many people. It’s very unusual that something like this would happen [in that neighborhood].”
Friends and neighbors of Yager, who was known as “Toni”, joined LaBonge and police investigators at a press conference on Feb. 5 to announce the reward, and said the murder has shocked many people in the community. Windsor Square resident Joann Clark said she was close to the victim, and Yager had mentioned to her that she had received a threatening letter approximately eight months before the murder. Clark also stated that Yager fed stray cats in the neighborhood, and she wondered if it had upset somebody and had something to do with the homicide.
Detectives said they had not previously been aware of the information Clark provided, and added that they would look into it. Radtke added that there were no signs of forced entry at the residence, but one of the doors was unlocked, and police believe a suspect may have entered through the door. Investigators also said evidence in the home indicated Yager was not asleep when the murder occurred and that she had eaten breakfast on the morning of the day she was killed.
Yager was the widow of retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Yager, who died in 2008. She originally came from Holland, and had served as a nurse during World War II. She had lived alone in the home following her husband’s death.
Det. Kevin Pierce, with the LAPD’s West Bureau Homicide Unit, said police are looking at many potential motives in the case. A series of burglaries had occurred in the Windsor Square and Hancock Park neighborhoods in the months leading up to the murder. Police said evidence showed someone had possibly looked through some of Yager’s belongings, but nothing appeared to have been stolen from the residence.
Anyone with information about the murder is urged to call detectives with the LAPD’s West Bureau Homicide Unit at (213)382-9470. During weekends and off-hours, call the LAPD’s 24-hour hotline at (877)LAPD247.
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