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Lunsford Conaway to appear for sentencing Monday

WESTON, W.Va. — Nearly seven years after the disappearance of her daughter, Lena Lunsford Conaway will learn her fate.

Lunsford will walk into the Lewis County Circuit Courtroom of Judge Jake Reger Monday afternoon facing the near certainty of a life sentence in the presumed 2011 death of then 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford.

A 12-member jury found Lunsford guilty of four felony charges relating to the 2011 disappearance during her trial in April. 

Those charges are murder of a child by parent, guardian or custodian or other person by refusal or failure to necessities, death of a child by parent, guardian, custodian or other person by child abuse, child abuse resulting in injury and concealment of a deceased human body. Lunsford was indicted on those charges by a Lewis County grand jury in March 2017.

Lunsford’s defense attorney, Tom Dyer, filed a motion in June requesting a new trial for Lunsford, claiming the state withheld exculpatory evidence. Reger denied that motion last week.

Dyer has previously told MetroNews he expects this case to reach the state Supreme Court.

Aliayah Lunsford was first reported missing Sept. 24, 2011. It was Lena Lunsford who alerted police to her daughter’s alleged disappearance. 

The trial revealed that Lunsford was interviewed on multiple occasions concerning Aliayah’s whereabouts. Police found inconsistencies in Lunsford’s stories, but never came to a satisfactory resolution.

In 2016, two eyewitnesses came forward with their recollection of that night’s events. Their statements to police led to Lunsford’s arrest in Pinellas County, Florida in November 2016. 

Law enforcement extradited Lunsford to West Virginia shortly thereafter.

Monday’s hearing begins at 2 p.m.

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