Who Killed Neveah Buchanan? New Details On The 10-Year Unsolved Murder Of Michigan Child

Who Killed Neveah Buchanan? New Details On The 10-Year Unsolved Murder Of Michigan Childwho killed Nevaeh Buchanan

A missing child not only impacts the victim’s family, but their community as well. When their disappearance ends with a homicide investigation, the lack of closure can be heartbreaking for all involved. And for the city of Monroe, Michigan, there’s been an unsolved murder on their minds for an entire decade now.

Who killed Nevaeh Buchanan? On May 24, 2009, authorities released an Amber Alert for the 5-year-old, who disappeared from her family’s apartment complex. Days later on June 4, her body was found buried near the River Raisin, encased in concrete. An autopsy found that her cause of death was asphyxiation, and that she was likely buried alive.

According to a county sheriff, there were no signs of physical abuse, though there were no mentions of whether or not sexual assault occurred.

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Though there were two suspects — Roy Lee Smith and George Kennedy — both of which were convicted sex offenders and had prior relationships with Nevaeh’s mother, Jennifer, the men were never charged with her murder.

Her family has been desperate for answers. Said her grandmother, Carla Nash, “The whole community of Monroe needs closure. Not just our family, the whole community of Monroe; technically her murderer is still out there...We have nothing and we just want to know why, who.” Even Alice Peters, a neighbor at the time, is overwhelmed with not knowing. “They said they had leads and they’ve never really come up with anything. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for the community not knowing,” she revealed.

Unfortunately, there have been no further leads in the case and Nevaeh’s death remains unsolved. But Risa Smith, another member of the Monroe community, has been searching for answers of her own over the years. She’s the head of the group, Justice for Nevaeh.

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“When this happened, my 13-year-old was four. They say they have a man in prison that’s responsible. I have a tough time swallowing that because I feel like if you can tell me a person’s name or who it is or why you think they’re responsible, I feel like there should be evidence to charge him,” Smith said. “We were told they were pretty sure he was responsible for the abduction and murder of Nevaeh, but that he was in prison on domestic violence charges... More gut wrenching, this could be my child...this could be my child.”

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Throughout the investigation, community members and professionals banded together and searched, but didn’t find her body. Police received over 500 tips, interviewed 240 people in the apartment complex, and about 100 officers were involved in looking for her. The case even appeared on America’s Most Wanted, and Nancy Grace.

At the time of Nevaeh’s disappearance, the two suspects, Roy Lee Smith and George Kennedy, were questioned. Smith had served 15 years in prison for criminal sexual misconduct convictions and larceny, while Kennedy was also a registered sex offender. After the disappearance, Smith allegedly gave his nephew’s van to Kennedy, where a bloody tool was found and given to authorities. A bloody towel and photos of young girls were found in Kennedy’s motel room.

There have also been suspicions that Jennifer was behind Nevaeh’s disappearance. Apparently, she had fallen in with a bad crowd, was doing drugs, and had broken into some homes, giving full custody to Nevaeh’s grandmother. Both Jennifer and Kennedy took polygraph tests and failed.

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.