Mom studying criminal justice in hopes of solving daughter’s murder


LAKE CHARLES, La. (CNN) — The 2016 death of Lashuntae Benton is a tragedy her mother, Theresa Tillman, has to live through every day.

No one has been charged with her death and Tillman is devoted to finding justice for her child.

“This is a daily struggle. Everyday, I struggle from the loss of my child,” the mother said. 

It’s a memory no parent should have to remember.

On April 10, 2016, Benton was shot and killed at a social gathering in the crossfire of two shooters in Baton Rouge.

No one’s been charged with her death, but Tillman is devoted to finding justice.

“What keeps me going is my kids and my family and the memory of my daughter because I know my daughter left a legacy behind, and I have to fulfill it, even through the pain,” she said. 

Tillman graduated with honors at Sowela Technical Community College with an associate’s degree in criminal justice, all for her daughter.

“As a parent, you never give up on your children and you strive to get your kids in college,” she said. “You’re hoping that they succeed and get a degree, you hope that they would be who you raised them to be and my daughter was on that path to do that and her life was cut short violently for no reason.”

Though Benton’s absence was felt, Tillman’s family was there to cheer her on.

Terence Thompson says he’s proud of what his mom accomplished.

“She’s a great example and a perfect role model and that you can do anything you put your mind to no matter what life throws at you, and got me wanting to go to college,” Thompson said. 

The milestone is one of many Tillman has to conquer before working for law enforcement.

But before she gets there, she wants police to give it their all.

“Give it the best that you’ve got, that’s all I want them to do,” she said. “I’m gonna work for law enforcement somewhere, but even if I have to do my child’s case on my own, I’m going to do that and that’s what I’m seeking to do.”

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