|Aliayah Lunsford Needs Your Attention|
Almost 7 months have now passed since Aliayah Lunsford was first reported missing, but it seems like the investigation into her disappearance in no closer to finding out what happened to her than it was on day one. There are no suspects or named persons of interest, just a spectacular disappointment of a mother who breeds and births like an animal while selling food stamps to make some cash and a father that snorts bath salts. Oh, and the other soccer team’s worth of kids in limbo because their mother kept popping out kid after kid even though she had no way to take care of them without financial aid. Not that she was using any of it to feed her kids, since she sold $114 of her food stamp allotment for a whopping $50 in cash.
Yes, Lena Lunsford is a prime example of why people cannot stand welfare moms. She’s already pled guilty for the welfare fraud and is still awaiting sentencing, while everyone else around her searches for her missing daughter. As if the government mooching wasn’t enough to earn her the ire of the nation, for the longest time she did nothing to help aid in the search for her 3-year-old daughter, Aliayah, who went missing back in September of last year. She’s made some half-assed attempts in recent months and is even now in the process of divorcing her salt snorting husband and said to be cooperating with investigators, according to her attorney. All you get out of the lawyer is that Lena doesn’t know what happened to Aliayah and not much else.
The FBI has been working on Aliayah’s case and so far all they’ve told the public is that they don’t believe Aliayah was kidnapped. Supervisory Agent John Hambrick said at a news conference last month:
"The initial concerns of somebody slipping in and taking Aliayah -- a break-in -- we found no evidence of that. We were not able to develop that as a theory."
If you followed Aliayah’s case from the beginning, no one seemed to believe that this child was kidnapped. Lena Lunsford said the morning Aliayah disappeared that she checked on her daughter, who was sick, at around 6:30 and when she checked on her again later that morning she was gone. Lena’s Husband, Ralph Keith Lunsford, had already left to work, leaving Lena alone to decide what action to take. Instead of calling 911 immediately, Lena took to driving around the neighborhood and didn’t report Aliayah missing until 11:30, after her car ran out of gas and she hadn’t found her child on her own. It was around 9 in the morning when she discovered Aliayah was gone, so she basically wasted over 2 hours that police could have been searching to cruise around the area on her own.
Back when this case first hit the news, Aliayah’s grandmother Joann Evans told the media, "She never leaves the house unless an adult is with her. She wouldn't have come out in the yard, or the road for that matter, without her mother." Just judging by Aliayah’s photos, she appears to be a very timid child. Also a very sad one. I have not seen a single photo of Aliayah with a smile on her adorable little face. I think she lived in a home where children were being taken care of by other children because their parents couldn’t be bothered. That left Aliayah and her siblings to fend for themselves for the most part and probably left the younger children at the mercy of the older kids when. That could be one of the explanations for the horrible bruises on Aliayah’s face in the above photograph.
Investigators aren’t saying whether they believe Aliayah is still alive and Lena Lunsford’s attorney says that Lena "is convinced that no blood relative of Aliayah knows what has happened to her." That leads one to think that maybe the investigation is focusing more on Lena’s soon-to-be ex-husband, Ralph Lunsford. Ralph is not Aliayah’s biological father and Ralph himself has suggested he’s been under scrutiny for Aliayah’s disappearance, saying last fall that he’s "been questioned by authorities day after day for the last month or two."
Supervisory Agent Hambrick hasn’t said if Ralph Lunsford is a suspect or if investigators are still questioning him. All Hambrick had to say about the question of whether this case has any persons of interest was, “It’s a small universe.” Hambrick also assured residents that there was no need to fear for their own children’s safety, that the investigation ruled out the notion that Aliayah was taken by an intruder. That’s good news for the residents of north-central West Virginia, but still leaves us with no news on where little Aliayah Lunsford is.
What I find extremely disappointing about Aliayah’s case is that her story hasn’t garnered much attention in the media and it’s been frustrating for her family. Tina Smith, Lena’s step-sister and Aliayah’s aunt has voiced that frustration, saying, "We have tried and tried and tried. . . If us family members wouldn't have kept it going, her case would have been swept under the rug. We wouldn't even be here today." Probably because with so many children being reported missing in the news, it’s hard for the people out here that would keep our eyes peeled for this child to remember or keep track.
I know it’s said that children have been going missing for years and we only hear about it so much now because of all the advances in community technology, but I don’t completely buy that. Disappearing children has become an epidemic. But how do we find a remedy for it with so many disinterested or suspiciously silent parents that don’t cooperate? It is distressing and totally unacceptable that children are being so blatantly failed by the very people who are supposed to be looking out for them. So that leaves the rest of us, strangers to these children, to look out for them and protect them and keep their names and faces at the forefront. If you’ve got a voice, give it to a missing child like Aliayah. They need us.