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Thread: Aliayah Lunsford

  1. #41

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    Mother of Missing Aliayah Lunsford Starts Fraud Sentence


    ALDERSON, W.Va. (AP) - The mother of a missing Lewis County 3-year-old has begun serving her eight-month prison sentence for welfare fraud.

    The U.S. Bureau of Prisons' website shows that 29-year-old Lena Lunsford reported as ordered Thursday and was being held Friday at the Federal Prison Camp at Alderson.

    Lunsford was sentenced in May after pleading guilty to selling $114 worth of credit on her food-stamp card for $50 cash. She'd been indicted on multiple counts last October, accused of swapping the benefits for cash five times in two months.

    Lunsford's daughter Aliayah disappeared from their rented Bendale home more than nine months ago, on Sept. 24, 2011.

    Investigators have made no arrests, named no suspects and refused to say what they think happened to the girl.

    http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=vi...d-Sentence3779

    So no justice for Aliayah, not even a proper funeral

  2. #42

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    Aliayah Lunsford: 11 Months Missing


    One family is still looking for answers of where their relative may be. Friday marked 11 months since then 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford was first reported missing from her Dennison Street home.

    Since that day, there's been no sight of the girl. Local, state and federal agencies have been looking into her disappearance and have gone over hundreds of clues that people have called in.

    Her extended family holds candlelight vigils on this day every month to keep her name out there.

    One will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bendale Bridge.

    If you have any information regarding her disappearance, call the West Virginia Fusion Center at 304-558-6592

    Video: http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=vi...hs-Missing4996

  3. #43

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    Aliayah Lunsford Missing: West Virginia Family Wants Answers In Case Of Vanished Daughter


    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Her mother is in prison for welfare fraud. Her stepfather is lying low. Her six siblings, some just infants, are in the custody of child welfare authorities. And Aliayah Lunsford, the brown-eyed 3-year-old who vanished from her West Virginia home a year ago Monday, is still missing.

    "It just seems like everybody's forgotten her," said Aliayah's great-aunt Vickie Bowen, "but we're never going to forget."

    In the year since Aliayah disappeared from her family's rented house in the Bendale section of Lewis County, Bowen has concluded the girl is probably dead, though she avoids using the word.

    "But we still need to know. We need that closure," Bowen said. "We need to take care of her."

    Aliayah's mother, Lena Lunsford, told police her daughter was in bed, wearing purple pajama pants and a pink sweat shirt, at 6:30 a.m. Sept. 24, 2011. But she said the child was missing when she checked on her a few hours later.

    Six months later, an FBI official said investigators had a working theory about what happened – and it didn't involve a break-in. The agency has since refused to say what agents believe happened to Aliayah or whether they think she's still alive, though it is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to her recovery or an arrest.

    Authorities have made no arrests and named no suspects, only describing the people of interest as "a small universe."

    Lewis County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. David Parks declined to discuss details of the investigation this week and referred questions to the FBI, which didn't return several messages. However, local authorities have put information about Aliayah in a brochure for people attending a hunting and fishing expo this weekend.

    "It's something that stays in our minds all the time here," Parks said. "It's not something you can forget: There's a little girl missing."

    Parks said the case is still active and tips are still coming in, though relatives complain they've had no updates in months.

    "If there were more to do, we'd be doing it," he said. "Unfortunately, right now we're doing what we can with what we have."

    Aliayah Lunsford's case has gotten little attention beyond the boundaries of her small home state, failing to resonate with the public in the way that Caylee Anthony's story did even though both girls were toddlers with chubby cheeks and brown hair.

    The body of the 2-year-old Florida girl was found a month after she was reported missing in 2008. Anthony's mother, Casey, was charged with murder after telling a string of lies to police but was later acquitted.

    However, Aliayah's case is different in several ways: Neither the immediate family nor the police sought national media attention. Investigators have been tight-lipped about the case, the family and their working theories from the start.

    Aliayah's parents were also poor, and their family relationships were splintered before the girl vanished, so there has been no prominent spokesman.

    And Aliayah has never been found, dead or alive.

    The girl's mother was indicted weeks after Aliayah's disappearance on charges she illegally swapped welfare benefits for cash five times in two months. She was sentenced in May to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to selling $114 worth of credit on her food-stamp card for $50 cash and reported to prison in late June.

    Attorney Mike Woelfel, who has represented Lena Lunsford in unrelated civil matters, has said Lena doesn't believe her daughter wandered off and has cooperated with investigators. She's also certain "no blood relative of Aliayah knows what has happened to her," though Woelfel has never elaborated.

    Woelfel said he spoke to Lena Lunsford on Friday, and she told him she still believes "Aliayah is out there, alive."

    "She's told the FBI everything she knows," he said, "so she's basically powerless to do anything other than sit and wait."

    Lena Lunsford filed for divorce from her husband, Ralph Keith Lunsford, after her daughter's disappearance, and is still waiting for it to be finalized. She'd been ordered by a judge to live apart from Ralph after he acknowledged buying and using synthetic drugs called bath salts.

    Both parents have repeatedly refused to comment on Aliayah's disappearance, but in a court proceeding, Ralph Lunsford acknowledged police had considered him a person of interest and repeatedly questioned him in the case.

    Lena Lunsford gave birth to twins after Aliayah disappeared and before she went to prison. Bowen, their great-aunt, has never met them. Nor does she know where the other children are.

    "Until we find answers for Aliayah," she said, "there's no chance of seeing them."

    After a year with no solid leads, Bowen is frustrated – but she and a group of about 10 people still search regularly for Aliayah.

    "If we hear anything, anything at all, we're there. No matter how unbelievable it seems to us, we go check it out," she said.

    On Monday, Bowen and others will plant flowers near the welcome sign in Weston to honor Aliayah. They'll distribute flyers with her picture and post them at area businesses. They're even planning a small afternoon demonstration at the Lewis County Courthouse.

    "We're not giving up," Bowen said. "There's no way we're going to give up. A child does not simply disappear."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/0...n_1905870.html

  4. #44

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.a...81474981655874

    Such a horrible thing that they cannot find her. Makes me so sad.

  5. #45

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    UPDATE: Age-Progressed Picture Released of Aliayah Lunsford, Missing Since 2011



    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's a new look at a familiar face. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has released an age-progressed picture of Aliayah Lunsford, who's been missing since 2011. Investigators hope the picture will breathe new life into what's become a cold case.

    Lunsford was just 3 years old when she was first reported missing on Sept. 24, 2011. To this day, authorities have not made any arrests or even identified any suspects.

    That's why forensic experts at the Center for Missing and Exploited Children are now using the latest technology to get an updated picture to the public.

    On a video posted on its website, forensic experts with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children give some insight on what goes into creating these types of pictures.

    "Our day-to-day job entails doing age progressions of long-time missing children," one forensic expert said. "Really anything digital that we can do to help law enforcement. We are here to serve."

    "Sometimes the last image of a child we have is of someone who's very young or an infant," another forensic expert said, "and what we're able to do with our technology, using heredity and Adobe Photoshop, we're able to create a more up to date image in order to assist an investigation and a lot of times get these children found."

    Investigators with the Lewis County Sheriff's Department tell WSAZ.com they have no new leads or sighting of Aliayah. However, they still consider this a very active investigation.

    Since Aliayah's disappearance, it's been her mother, Lena Lunsford, who's been making headlines. She's spent several months behind bars for welfare fraud, and other unrelated charges for violating terms of her release.

    If you have any information on this case, you're urged to call police or The Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST.


    http://www.wsaz.com/news/headlines/A...247062441.html

  6. #46

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    http://www.theet.com/news/local/fift...37de810c6.html

    WESTON — Saturday will mark five years since 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford disappeared from her home in the small community of Bendale outside Weston. The Lewis County case remains unsolved.

    Searchers for the toddler have included professional and volunteer groups, and there have been countless hours of investigation by law enforcement, according to Lewis County Sheriff Adam Gissy. Authorities also dragged the nearby river, he said.

    “There’s not a week that goes by that we are not digging into the case or re-interviewing people,” Gissy said. “We are in contact with the FBI and State Police regularly. We just need that one break, and I believe we could really bring about some closure.


    “I would encourage anyone with any information to please come forward.”

    Aliayah’s mother, Lena Lunsford, reported at the time of the disappearance that she checked on her daughter in her bed early in the morning of on Sept. 24, 2011. Lunsford said she looked in on her again at about 9 a.m. and she was gone.

    Lunsford told authorities she went out driving around looking for Aliayah and didn’t report her missing until 11:30 a.m., according to police.

    The FBI has been overseeing the cold case.

    The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also is involved.

    The center has been in existence for over 30 years and assisted law enforcement with more than 13,700 cases of missing children in 2015, according to Mike Murphy, director of the missing children’s division.

    “Our goal is to try to connect law enforcement to every resource in an attempt to locate the child. Our forensic artists are constantly working to update age progression photos for children who are younger because they change so rapidly. They take other family photos and other family members to make those. It’s part science and part artistic talent,” Murphy said.

    Last year, 86 percent of missing and exploited children were endangered runaways; 10 percent were family abductions; 2 percent were lost, injured or otherwise missing children; 1 percent were non-family abductions; and 1 percent were critically missing young adults, ages 18-20, Murphy said.

    “We use a multitude of ways to distribute information. It’s done in an effort to identify the child. It may be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. We’re looking for that one person who recognizes the child. We foster a partnership through the media, law enforcement, citizens and the National Center. Our goal is to assist in providing the images,” Murphy said.

    The center also works constantly through social media to reach as many people as possible and make sure the images are out where people are looking at them, he said.

    “We appreciate the partnership with citizens and media. If someone sees something, we want them to say something. No matter how small. Give law enforcement the opportunity to check on it,” Murphy said.


    Less than two weeks after Aliayah’s disappearance, her four brothers and sisters were removed from the home by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, Gissy said.

    Lena Lunsford, who was pregnant with twins at the time, was arrested on federal welfare fraud charges weeks later and was sentenced to eight months in prison. She was sent back to jail for violating her supervised release by failing to keep a job, failure to attend scheduled counseling appointments and possession and use of cocaine, the sheriff confirmed.

    Aliayah’s stepfather Ralph Keith Lunsford and Lena lost their parental rights to all the children, Gissy said.

    Aliayah Lunsford’s story was featured on CNN, CBS and Nancy Grace, which generated a lot of calls that were referred to the FBI and sheriff’s office, Gissy said.{/div}

    The FBI has offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to her recovery or an arrest.{/div}

    Anyone with information is encouraged to call the FBI at (412) 432-4000 or the Lewis Sheriff’s Department at (304) 269-8251. The public can also call the 24-hour hotline 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) with any information concerning the disappearance or current whereabouts of Lunsford. Calls can be made anonymously. Information also can be reported by visiting the West Virginia Fusion Center at www.fusioncenter.wv.gov.

  7. #47

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    I just don't have any words left in this case. You can see from the pictures that this child suffered a lot, and I feel so very very sorry for her. I'm lost for words, it hurts to look at her pictures, just knowing someone hurt her really bad. She was just a small innocent child, what did she do to deserve all of this, her missing teeth at such a young age, the black eye, no smile at all. Relatives can take pictures and say; we knew something was wrong..but with such pictures, someone should have done something far before. Knowing she was missing her front teeth at the age of 3!!!! Not normal, they all should have done something to protect this little girl.


    If this would have been my niece/ cousin, I would turn in my brother or sister right away. And I bet my brother or sister would do the same, if my child had black spots or missing front teeth, they would report me for sure. Not just take pictures, and wait till it was too late..Maybe they reported it, didn't read about it though. But maybe they called for help several times, if they did, the blame is not on them, but on the ones who didn't think anything was amiss, or maybe they didn't even check and just said everything was fine, earned whatever they earn on a monthly base, and just go on with their help for children, without checking, as long as their wages are paid.

    I don't know what went wrong here, was it that no relative reported child abuse, or was it no one checking afterwards?

  8. #48

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    It was really strange that they released the above article when they did because the night before I had been thinking of this little girl and wondering what had happened with her case, well I guess nothing further. I don't think it's that the police don't care. I think they just had no way of knowing a child was being abused, especially if no one reported it and now they just have no way of finding her unless whoever did this confesses, which is not likely. It is very sad. Sad to say that this is happening to other children, and worse, everywhere.

  9. #49

    Default Re: Aliayah Lunsford

    Finally!! Better late than never.

    Missing child's mom arrested in 2011 cold case, charged in her death




    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - New leads in the case of Aliayah Lunsford led investigators to a home in St. Petersburg.

    Aliayah went missing on Sept. 24, 2011. At the time her mom, Lena Lunsford, called 911 to report that her daughter was missing from her bedroom.

    A nationwide search for Aliayah followed and more than five years later, Aliayah’s body has not been found.

    On Thursday, detectives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office assisting authorities from West Virginia arrested Lunsford at 5910 31st Street North St. Petersburg.

    Tammy Harris, a secretary for Lewis County (W.Va.) Sheriff Adam Gissy, said a news conference would be held at 11 a.m. Friday in Lewis County with more details on the arrest.

    “Some developments have been made in the case,” FBI Supervisory Agent Greg Heeb said. “It is not our arrest warrant, though, but we are aware of possible developments in the case.”

    The girls’ parents, Lena and Ralph, have been in and out of jail on other charges, but were never publicly deemed “suspects” by a host of investigators including the FBI, West Virginia State Police and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

    Lena Lunsford served eight months in federal prison on welfare fraud charges and moved to Wheeling before eventually moving Florida, where she was arrested.

    In 2013, the Lunsfords lost all parental rights. At a hearing in 2012, a circuit court judge found "that the parents had more knowledge about Aliayah’s whereabouts than they revealed but refused to provide that information to the court.”


    Video: http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/lo...d-in-her-death

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