Arrest in Aliayah Lunsford’s disappearance

Breaking news today: the mother of little Aliayah Paige Lunsford (whose name is pronounced ah-LEE-ah, btw), who disappeared in 2011 at the age of three, has been charged with child abuse causing death in her daughter’s disappearance. Lena Lunsford was arrested in Florida and will not fight extradition back to West Virginia.

That this has turned into a murder-without-a-body case is not surprising; Lena had been the prime suspect in Aliayah’s disappearance all along and the police had said they didn’t believe she had been abducted. Lena was pregnant with twins at the time of Aliayah’s disappearance and had four other children; she permanently lost custody of all six kids in the aftermath of Aliayah’s disappearance.

If you look at the photos of Aliayah — I’ve got six of them — she always looks unhappy. One of them, in some versions, had been Photoshopped to remove the large bruise on her cheek; I posted the original.

I can only hope that Aliayah’s siblings are leading happy lives now and that the family will get some answers out of Lena at last.



11 thoughts on “Arrest in Aliayah Lunsford’s disappearance

  1. Amur November 3, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    It’s about time! 5 years to confirm what anyone with 1/2 a brain already knew, that nobody broke into that house the night Aliayah supposedly vanished?! Ridiculous!

    • Meaghan November 3, 2016 / 8:47 pm

      It’s about proving it. What you know is one thing; what you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of 12 is another thing altogether.

      • Amur November 3, 2016 / 9:00 pm

        Standards have become relaxed over the past 2 decades and thankfully having a body is no longer strictly required, or a large percentage of cases would never see resolution. The police always said they thought someone in the house knew a lot more than was being said, but declined to share their theory, which was probably the best choice. Now evidently the grand jury has agreed with their theory and there exists proof beyond all reasonable doubt that, remains recovered or not, Aliayah came to harm and met her fate right there in her own home, due to the actions of her own mother. The mother’s story fell apart so quickly and it was so obvious that she had something to hide, that I initially felt anger that it took police 5 years to take any sort of decisive action, to finally admit that proper authorities had failed to protect Aliayah despite allegations of abuse, and her mother had the public on a wild goose chase for some babykilling pedophile that did not exist.

    • Meaghan November 3, 2016 / 9:29 pm

      In cases like this I am reminded of the character Don Francis’s tagline in the movie “The Band Played On” about the early years of the AIDS crisis: “What do we know, what do we think, what can we prove?”

  2. Karen Klinesmith Weber November 3, 2016 / 10:28 pm

    She is one who has always stood out to me because of how sad she always looked & now seeing her precious little face with the bruise makes me so angry. I also hope her siblings are living a happy life away from those monster “parents”

  3. Jenny November 3, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    I see they found kala brown today. looks like her sex offender boss had her chained up the whole time. I’m glad they found her, but they haven’t found her boyfriend yet.

  4. Ilya November 3, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    Looks like she’s crying on that first photo….poor thing.

  5. diamondlil16 November 4, 2016 / 6:42 am

    Wow, finally. I hope her remains can now be found. We had a case thread started for her 4 days after she was reported missing and we did use the picture with the awful bruise. Thanks for the news links. Poor baby. Hopefully her siblings will continue to be out of harm’s way.

  6. Aja November 4, 2016 / 1:39 pm

    The latest news is that Aliayah’s death was caused by a hard blow on the head on the night before she went “missing”. This leads to believe that someone who was present that house at the time for some reason has been persuaded to talk after all of these years, telling law enforcement exactly what they needed to know in order to put the final nail in the mom’s coffin.If I had to guess then I would pinpoint one of the other children as the singing canary, now that all of little Aliayah’s siblings are more mature and safely as well as permanently beyond all reach of their shady parents.

  7. Kat November 4, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    OT, Durst is apparently being extradited……….

    Saw update on the Lunsford case so very sad but not surprising. I wish there was a way to keep people from having kid after kid after kid and not giving a damn about them, except for the check. So sad. Hopefully her remains will be found. A forgone conclusion, sadly. I hope the rest of her half/siblings do well. There was a news article about Erica Parsons yesterday or the day before, but it was too graphic for me to want to post. Now with the Kala Brown recovery, not technically CP case, more news. Who knows what is next?????

  8. Rachel April 20, 2018 / 2:42 pm

    Lena Lunsford Conaway’s trial has just started, and the details are honestly heartbreaking. The witnesses who came forward and told the police what happened to Aliayah are her two older sisters. Now that some time has passed, and they’re away from Lena, they felt ready to tell what happened. I hate that they have to testify, though☹️ Aliayah’s siblings were all kept together and adopted into a stable family. Their adoptive parents encourage them to talk about their sister and keep her memory alive.

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