WESTON, W.Va. — Almost two years have passed since a 3-year-old Lewis County girl disappeared from her family’s home and Aliayah Lunsford has not been seen since then.
“It’s been really, really hard, just the not knowing where she’s at,” said Aliayah’s aunt, Tina Smith. She spoke with WSAZ Television at a Saturday church service for Aliayah at Jackson’s Mill Baptist Church.
Aliayah was reported missing on September 24, 2011 when her mother, Lena Lunsford, said she went to check on the girl at their Bendale home, near Weston, and she was gone.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers have been part of searches for the girl since then.
The girl’s disappearance has been classified as a crime, but no arrests have been made and no suspects have been named.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI are handling the ongoing investigation. “People call in and say, ‘You need to talk to this person or that person.’ Or, ‘I think I’ve seen her here, I think I’ve seen her there’ and we follow up on each one of them (the tips),” said Sgt. Mike Posey with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department.
Smith said she just wants to know what happened to her niece. “We may never get justice for Aliayah, but we need her found. If she’s no longer with us, then we need her properly put to rest,” she said.
A candlelight vigil for Aliayah will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Lewis County Courthouse.
Aliayah’s mother, Lena, is serving time on probation after pleading guilty to welfare fraud. Earlier this year, she was preparing to give birth to her eighth child.