NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

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ID card found at Creek where she was located

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:55 pm

Poster's Note: If I were LE I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this piece of evidence. Considering he's one of the main suspects...

An expired state of Michigan identification card
that was found Wednesday in a small creek along Telegraph Road does not
appear to have any relevance to the ongoing investigation surrounding
the slaying of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, according to a statement
issued by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
The document belonged to George Kennedy, 39, a registered sex offender
who has been described by authorities as a boyfriend of the child's
mother, Jennifer Buchanan, and a "person of interest" in the case.
Nevaeh disappeared from the Charlotte Arms apartment complex in Monroe
on May 24. Her body was found miles away June 4 along the River Raisin
shoreline near Ida, Mich.
Kennedy and two other men identified as persons of interest have not
been charged in her disappearance or death. Authorities have not named
them or anyone else as suspects.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said the ID card was found by a
passerby, but "does not appear to have any significance to the Buchanan
A task force of multiple agencies has been reviewing more than 1,200 tips, the sheriff's office said.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:50 pm

Police say they are continuing to follow up on tips and leads in the
disappearance of a 5-year-old girl who was found buried near a Michigan
The Monroe County Sheriff's Department said Friday the task force
investigating the death of Nevaeh Buchanan is offering up to $20,000
for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or
persons responsible.
More than 1,200 tips have been received and police say evidence
still is being analyzed from her shallow grave along the River Raisin
in Monroe County's Raisinville Township, where she was discovered June
Nevaeh disappeared 10 days earlier from outside an apartment complex
in Monroe. An autopsy revealed she suffocated after inhaling dirt.
No one has been arrested in her death.
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New $20k reward offered by FBI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:27 pm

The FBI is offering up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest
and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the abduction
and murder of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan.
While he would not say that the
investigation has stalled, Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield did
acknowledge that there have been fewer tips lately.
"They’ve slowed down considerably,"
Sheriff Crutchfield said. "It’s one of the more difficult
investigations law enforcement can get involved with. It’s a very
difficult investigation."
Almost three months have passed since the little girl was abducted from the Charlotte Arms apartment complex.
The sheriff said a task force still
is operating and the FBI is still present in the county. He insisted
investigators are not frustrated at the lack of major developments.
"We still have leads we’re following
up on," Sheriff Crutchfield said. "It’s a very active case. We will not
stop until the matter is solved."
Nevaeh disappeared Memorial Day
weekend and two men who know the girl’s mother and are registered sex
offenders were early suspects. But neither was linked to the abduction
and murder by police.
In the days after her abduction,
several massive searches were conducted as hundreds of volunteers
wandered the county’s roads and fields looking for the little girl.
On June 4, two fishermen found her
body in a shallow grave along the River Raisin in Raisinville Township.
Because of its remoteness, the sheriff has said he believes the suspect
is a local resident.
On July 15, autopsy results were
released showing Nevaeh was buried alive or smothered in dirt. The
sheriff said he is waiting for analysis on other evidence collected.
This is the second time reward money
has been offered. The FBI offered $20,000 for information leading to
the recovery of Nevaeh or her body. Newport resident Guy Bickley and
his stepfather found the grave off Dixon Rd.
Mr. Bickley, 52, said he has not received any reward money, though an FBI agent said he was eligible.
Mr. Bickley said he isn’t worried
about it under the circumstances, but feels if the FBI promises
something, it should follow through.
"It is a little weird," he said. "The
FBI agent stopped by about four or five days after I found Nevaeh and
he said it might take a while. I haven’t heard anything about it since.
Nobody’s talked to me."
Mr. Bickley said if the reward money
came from the community, he probably wouldn’t accept it. But since it
was the federal government, he would. He said if the reward is paid, he
plans to split it with his stepfather who was with him that day.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:31 pm

The family and friends of Nevaeh
Buchanan hope to raise enough money to buy a playground bench in honor
of Nevaeh. Organizers hope the bench will be a reminder to parents not
to let their children out of their sites.Five-year-old Nevaeh,
who was abducted and killed earlier this summer, graduated from the
preschool program there just days before her abduction. She was taken
from her Monroe apartment complex in broad daylight.The bench would be placed at Riverside Early Learning Center. It costs several hundred dollars.Sunday's event is a spaghetti dinner at the VFW Hall on 28045 Joy Road. in Westland. It runs from 3 p.m until 10 p.m.The fundraiser will also feature raffles for prizes, hourly 50/50 raffles, live music and clowns for kids.The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:33 pm

August 24th marked three months since the five-year-old Monroe Girl
disappeared from her apartment complex. Fishermen found the body of
Nevaeh Buchancan eleven days after her disappearance on the banks of
the River Raisin. All this time later, frustration is growing, as tips and information from police dry up. Although Neveah's body has been found and laid to rest, her family says
that's only half the battle. Justice hasn't been served as long as her
killer is still on the streets.
At her gravesite, topped with small tokens for Nevaeh, her cousin
can say what he wants her to hear. "I do love you, Nevaeh. One day
we're gonna have the killers, they're gonna be charged, one day
hopefully. All we can do is pray and hope for you, just wish there was
some sign you could give us." She was snatched from an apartment
complex in broad daylight. More than 1,200 tips to police and a new
$20,000 reward from the FBI and still no answers, no suspects, no
arrest. Her cousin says though Nevaeh's death touched the
community, parents still don't see the lesson. "I see kids playing
outside, parents ain't nowhere. In the house, that's all it takes.
That's all Nevaeh was-- outside. Parent was in the house. Gone. Just
like that. No I love you. No goodbye. No nothing. You know, no hug, no
last kiss, just gone. Then nothing but worries, heartache, pain,
sorrow." The Monroe County sheriff's department tells us there
is no new information. There is a $20,000 reward for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of Nevaeh Buchanan's killers. If you think you can help, call investigators at 734-243-7070.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:20 pm

Nevaeh Buchanan's name no longer dominates the headlines. Local
television newscasts and CNN's Nancy Grace have moved on to other
topics. But Nevaeh's murder still weighs heavily on the minds
of her relatives. No arrests have been made in the death of the
5-year-old girl, who was buried in a shallow grave near the River
Raisin three months ago. Police have released no new information, and
relatives say rumors have been running rampant in the absence of new
leads. Friends and family of the slain girl gathered Sunday at
the Romanowski Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Westland to remember
Nevaeh. They hoped to raise enough money to erect a memorial park bench
and to start an annual scholarship fund for needy preschoolers in her
hometown of Monroe.
But, relatives admit, another goal of the event was to keep the case in the public eye. "We want to keep Nevaeh's name out there," said Risa Thompson, a distant cousin who helped organize the fundraiser. "The (Monroe County Sheriff's Office) assigned a new detective to the case, but he didn't have anything new to tell us." Nevaeh
was last seen alive on May 24. She was playing on her scooter in her
apartment complex parking lot, neighbors said. Her body was found about
10 miles away on June 4 by two fishermen who spotted skin beneath
freshly poured concrete near the river. Two men, George Kennedy
and Roy Lee Smith, both convicted sex offenders who were friends of
Jennifer Buchanan, Nevaeh's mother, were arrested on unrelated charges
and questioned shortly after Nevaeh disappeared. They remain in prison
on parole violation charges. Shane Hinojosa, Nevaeh's father, said the lack of progress in the case has been "frustrating." "I
call the police every other day, but all I get is a 'no comment' from
them," Hinojosa said. "It's been hard for me and my family, knowing the
killer is out there. It bothers me a lot." Another difficulty, Nevaeh's relatives say, has been dealing with rumors. "There's all sorts of controversy still going on," said Rhonda Farless, one of Nevaeh's distant cousins. "If you look online, it's like a lynch mob mentality. "There
are a lot of people who think the entire family, including fourth
cousins, are responsible for what happened," Thompson said. "So it's
been really frustrating for us. The police aren't coming forward with
any new information; it's just rumors, rumors, rumors." Jennifer Buchanan was invited to Sunday's event, Thompson said, but she didn't come. Thompson asked that donations to be made to the Monroe Public Schools in Nevaeh's name. "There's
been talk online that I'm trying to make money off this," she said.
"It's sickening. But people can donate right to the Monroe Public
Schools, and the money goes straight to the fund. We're not getting a
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:50 pm

The horrific story of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan earlier this year sent shivers down the spines of parents.
One minute Nevaeh was playing and riding her scooter in the parking lot
of an apartment complex where she lived with mother and grandmother.
Moments later she had disappeared. And for 11 days, no one knew what
Then, on June 4, her body was discovered encased in concrete in a
shallow grave along the River Raisin. Investigators fear she may have
been buried alive.
The message ever since from guardians to their children has been clear:
Watch out for strangers. Those instructions may work well for 364 days
of the year, but as Risa Thompson of the group Justice for Nevaeh
explained yesterday, Halloween presents a conundrum for families as
their youngsters head out under cover of night to knock on many
strangers' doors.

"We teach our kids the stranger-danger thing, and then we go out for Halloween," she said.
For tips on how to keep trick-or-treating safe and fun, more than 50
parents and children attended a Halloween safety event yesterday
afternoon at RiversideEarly Learning Center organized by Justice for Nevaeh members.
Those in attendance also paid respect to the memory of Nevaeh and
expressed support for the girl's family members, who have yet to see
her killer identified or arrested.

Sherry Buchanan, Nevaeh's grandmother, at right, says that she continues to struggle emotionally with the loss of Nevaeh.

A Nevaeh Buchanan Task Force is offering up to $20,000 for information
leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the
girl's abduction and murder.
"It's hard not knowing who did this and that they're still out there,"
said Nevaeh's father, Shane Hinojosa of West Toledo, who came out
yesterday with his newborn daughter, Natalie, and 2-year-old son and
6-year-old stepson.
Mr. Hinojosa said he can see Nevaeh in his daughter, who was born Sept.
23 and shares similar features including the color of her hair, eyes,
and eyebrows. Although five months have passed since Nevaeh
disappeared, he remains confident authorities will catch her killer.
"They'll get caught sooner or later - it just takes time I guess," he said.
Also present was Nevaeh's grandmother, Sherry Buchanan, who lived with
the girl and said that the emotional wounds have yet to heal. If she
catches a glimpse of even a photo of a young girl that looks like
Nevaeh, she said she has to look away.
"The only thing that keeps me going is those good people here at
Riverside, the people where I work at Food Town, and my son," she said.
"My sister is hurting so bad she can't stand it. She cries every time
she turns around."
The afternoon opened with a prayer led by Sam Luke, a pastor at Stewart
Road Christian Ministries, where Nevaeh's funeral was held in June.
"Let's pray that the persons or person guilty of this horrible atrocity
will either be caught or turn themselves in," the pastor said. "We will
never forget Nevaeh, and we will never forget what she represents for
He continued, "This is a case that's near and dear to our heart - we love our children and we want them to be safe."
Parents and children then marched around the parking lot raising signs
with reward posters on one side and "Justice for Nevaeh" and "Safety
first starts at home" messages on the other.
Britney Crawford of Monroe said she has been extra vigilant about the
safety of her three children, ages 8, 10, and 13, since the news broke
about Nevaeh. She was particularly unnerved that Nevaeh's killer
remains at large.
"As a parent, I can't imagine losing a child like that," Mrs. Crawford
said. "They found her body less than two miles from our house, and
that's very scary."
Nevaeh's uncle Mike Buchanan also marched outside the school.
"We as a family really, really hurt," said Mr. Buchanan, who isn't sure
whether the killer's arrest can bring closure. He still has many
questions that need answered.
"With me it's always 'why?' Why did this happen? Was it just a random thing or did you target my niece for a reason?" he said.
Those with any information about Nevaeh's case are asked to call the Nevaeh Buchanan Task Force at 734-457-6713.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by tears4caylee on Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:48 pm

The search for Nevaeh Buchanan

Monday, February 15, 2010

Almost a year and 13,000 tips later, no killer has been charged with the child's death
It's the most high-profile murder case in our area in years. Nevaeh Buchanan, 5, was taken from her home and buried alive. It happened last summer, but to this day, the crime remains unsolved.
Her name was Nevaeh-- heaven spelled backward-- and on her tombstone, she's called "Monroe's Little Angel."
Diana Lawson is Nevaeh's great-aunt. She still lives in the Charlotte Arms apartment building, across the hall from where Nevaeh was last seen. That was May 24 of last year.
How Nevaeh disappeared is unclear. After a massive 10-day search, two fishermen uncovered her body. It was encased in cement along a bank of the River Raisin, near the town of Maybee.
A large, wooden cross now stands along the riverbank, marking the site where investigators recovered Nevaeh's body. It's here you'll also find signs offering a $20,000 reward to whomever can help solve this mystery.
Two weeks ago would have marked Nevaeh's sixth birthday. A small crowd gathered to remember the girl, including Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan. Jennifer did not speak to the media.
She and Nevaeh's grandmother, who was the girl's legal guardian, have since moved out of Charlotte Arms.
Meantime, Nevaeh's aunt says she still contacts investigators, asking for updates.
We were all set to talk with a sergeant about the investigation and where it stands, when the sheriff of Monroe County pulled the plug. At this point, we are told there will be no on-camera interviews about the Nevaeh Buchanan case.
We do know the two men originally considered "persons of interest" are still in prison. George Kennedy and Roy Smith never faced new charges.
The convicted sex offenders were both found guilty of violating parole by contacting Nevaeh's family. They're currently finishing out their original sentences.
As for Nevaeh's great-aunt, she wonders how much detectives know and how much she doesn't. "They're not talking much about anything. I don't know if they've got anything, any clues."
That leaves her, and many others, to question: what led up to the killing of Monroe's little angel? Who took the young life of Nevaeh Buchanan? And perhaps the most nagging question of all -- Why?
The sheriff's office has fielded 13,000 tips. The lead detective continues to investigate every day. If you have any information, give them a call at 734-240-7550
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by kiwimom on Sun May 16, 2010 9:27 pm

A year later, no answers in Nevaeh Buchanan murder
George Hunter / The Detroit News
Monroe -- Risa Thompson had a distressing conversation
recently with a stranger who thought her nightmare was over. "When
he found out I was related to Nevaeh, he said: 'The cops caught the guy
who killed her, didn't they?' " Thompson said. "I still talk to people
who think the murderer has been caught." Thompson, cousin of
slain 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, is trying to get the word out that the
killer is still on the loose.

It's been almost a year since Nevaeh was
last seen by neighbors as she played on her scooter in the Charlotte
Arms Apartments in the evening of May 23. After a search that
made national headlines, Nevaeh's body was found June 4 about 10 miles
away by two fishermen who spotted skin beneath freshly poured concrete
near the River Raisin. An autopsy later revealed she had dirt in her
lungs, meaning she likely was buried alive. The case was
highlighted for several weeks after the abduction in the national media,
including segments on CNN's Nancy Grace show. But while the
nationwide spotlight has waned, the pain remains for Nevaeh's family. "It
bothers me that people think this is over," said Thompson, 42, of
Livonia. "Some people are surprised to hear that the killer hasn't been
found." Thompson has joined with friends and relatives to form
Justice for Nevaeh, a group whose aim is to keep the case in the public
eye. The group last month held a poster campaign and passed out
hundreds of fliers bearing two images of Nevaeh, along with the offer of
a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction
of the murderer. Sherry Buchanan broke into tears at the April 26
poster campaign as she discussed the pain of not knowing who killed her
granddaughter. "It's really hard," she said. "I still want
answers. I want to see whoever did this face to face. There are so many
things I want to ask. Why her? She was just a baby. I don't understand
it. "I want them to come forward; to give themselves up," the
grandmother said. "I just want them to know how I feel. I hurt inside. I
pray every night that they don't sleep good -- I hope they see Nevaeh's
face every night like I do." Since September, more than 10,000
posters have been passed out and hung in area grocery stores, gas
stations and other businesses. In addition, Lake Erie Transit, which
runs eight bus routes in Monroe County, has agreed to display large
posters on the outside of two coaches, and smaller versions inside eight
of their buses. Nevaeh's friends and family say they
haven't heard much from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, which is
conducting the murder investigation. "We're not hearing a lot
from the police," Thompson said. "But I think they're just doing their
job; they can't put information out there that they can't prove 100
percent, so they're being careful. "They don't want a child
killer to get off on a technicality." Two sex offenders who were
friends with Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan, were arrested shortly
after the girl disappeared and named "persons of interest" in the case.
But while George Kennedy, who served five years in prison for having sex
with a 15-year-old girl, and convicted rapist Roy Lee Smith remain in
prison for parole violations, police said months ago they are not
connected with Nevaeh's murder. Phone calls to Monroe County
Sheriff's detectives Friday were not returned. Sherry Buchanan
said her daughter has also been eliminated by police as a suspect,
although she said people still give Jennifer Buchanan "funny looks." "I
know people think she had something to do with it, but the sheriffs
told me they don't consider her a suspect," Sherry Buchanan said.
"People have ridiculed my daughter. She's taking it hard." Jennifer
Buchanan appeared at the poster campaign but did not speak to the
media. "It was hard enough to get her to come," Sherry Buchanan
said. "She's hurting inside. We all are." Anyone with information
is asked to call the Monroe County Sheriff's Nevaeh Buchanan Task Force
at (734) 457-6713.
From The Detroit News:
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Tue May 18, 2010 12:33 pm

Those still searching for her killer will commemorate 5-year-old
Nevaeh Buchanan's life with a carnival-type event in Monroe on Saturday, nearly a
year after her death.
The community group Justice for Nevaeh is sponsoring "Remembering
Nevaeh - One Year Later" at the Moose Lodge near the Monroe apartment
complex where the girl was kidnapped May 24, 2009.
"We didn’t
want to word it as a celebration, we didn’t want it to call it an
anniversary," the group's co-chairwoman Risa Thompson, 42, of Livonia, a
distant cousin of Nevaeh's father, said today. "But since Nevaeh was so
young and innocent, we wanted to gear it toward the kids. We wanted the
kids to have fun, and enjoy being a child. But at the same time it’s
going to give the parents the knowledge to protect their child against
another heinous crime."
From noon to 9 p.m., bounce houses,
carnival games with prizes, food, live entertainment and exhibitions by
local gymnastics and karate students will take place in the parking lot
at 1320 North Macomb Street, where volunteers gathered a year ago to
mobilize searches.
The event will also host presentations on
child safety, abuse prevention, counseling and creating a child safety
contingency plan. Pastor Dale Hayford of the Community Crosswalk Church
in Monroe, who helped host the little girl's funeral, will open the
event with a prayer.
Two fisherman found her body on June 4,
buried in dirt and covered with concrete along the River Raisin. An
autopsy showed the preschooler suffocated after inhaling dirt. The
Monroe County Sheriff's Office is still searching for her killer.
event is also designed to raise money for a preschool scholarship
offered through the Monroe Public Schools. So far, the group has raised
$1800 to pay for other children to attend Riverside Early Learning
Center, Nevaeh's school, and to place a memorial bench outside.
about her disappearance can be forwarded to the Monroe County Sheriff's
Office Nevaeh Buchanan Task Force at 734-457-6713.
For more
information about Saturday's event, contact Justice for Nevaeh at
734-419-3232 or 412-849-0079 or e-mail
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The Nevaeh Buchanan Timeline

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun May 23, 2010 10:47 am

May 24 – 6:30 p.m. Nevaeh Buchanan discovered missing from
the parking lot of the Charlotte Arms apartment complex on N. Macomb
St.; 8 p.m. police notified; 12:30 a.m. May 25 Amber Alert issued

May 25 – George Kennedy and Roy Smith, two registered sex
offenders, are taken into custody for violating their probation

May 26 – Hundreds of community members gather in the Kmart
parking lot and search a large part of Monroe County

May 27 – Divers search two quarries in Monroe; Jennifer
Buchanan questioned for hours by investigators

May 28 – Tips number 500; 240 people at Charlotte Arms
interviewed by police

May 29 – DNA extracted from blood on property owned by
George Kennedy fails to match Nevaeh

May 30 – Tips number 700; hundreds attend candlelight vigil

May 31 – Man, 64, picked up for questioning after
investigators learn he visited the apartment complex and was seen
burning items in his back yard

June 1 – Tips number 800; up to 100 investigators involved
in the case

June 2 – FBI warns the public that the case could take years
to solve; police announce they are searching for two vans — one green,
one silver — that were near Hollywood Elementary School and were
questioning an ice cream truck driver; final press conference held

June 3 – FBI announces $20,000 reward for information in the
case, with a second, private $8,000 reward being offered; prayer vigil
held at apartment complex

June 4 – Fishermen discover Nevaeh’s body along the banks of
the River Raisin in Raisinville Township

June 5 – Groups of people gather and pray at river site,
which becomes a memorial; sheriff announces that he believes the killer
is a local person

June 7 – Tips number 1,000

June 8 – Cantrick School hosts seminar for the community
mourners; Jennifer Buchanan walks off during interview with CNN’s Nancy Grace

June 9 – DNA results confirm the body in the crude grave was
in fact 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan; George Kennedy and Roy Smith both
are sent to prison

June 11 – First of two days of visitation begins for Nevaeh’s funeral

June 12 – Tips reach 1,100

June 13 – Funeral held after an estimated 1,500 people offer
condolences during visitation; motorcycle hearse proceeds through
Monroe past the Custer Statue and Munson Park; community members line
the streets and balloons released

June 14 – Tips reach an estimated 1,200

June 20 – Jennifer Buchanan, in an Evening News interview,
again denies knowledge of involvement in her daughter’s disappearance
and says many in the community have shunned her or treated her poorly

July 14 – Autopsy results released and show Nevaeh died of
asphyxiation and was most likely buried alive; family says they hope she
was unconscious

Aug. 6 – FBI announces a $20,000 reward is available for
information leading to the arrest of a suspect; number of tips slow considerably

Aug. 25 – Justice for Nevaeh forms and announces it is
raising money for a bench in her honor to be placed at Riverside School
at W. Elm Ave. and N. Roessler St.

Oct. 16 – During an Evening News interview, family members
say they are frustrated by a lack of progress in the case and plea for
the killer to come forward; Jennifer Buchanan says Nevaeh’s body had no
signs of trauma or sexual assault; her body also showed that there were
no drugs in her system, only caffeine


April 26 – Justice for Nevaeh holds a rally at the Monroe
Moose Family Center on N. Macomb St. just down the street from the site
of the kidnapping, and organizers say 5,000 fliers have been printed and
2,500 had been distributed earlier; Sherry Buchanan says she has moved
out of the Charlotte Arms apartment and Jennifer is staying with a
friend; while Jennifer is at the rally, she declines to speak with the media.

May 22 – Justice for Nevaeh holds another rally at the Moose
Lodge called “Remembering Nevaeh: One Year Later”; the event includes
bounce houses, carnival games, food, live entertainment, exhibitions by
local gymnastics and karate students and presentations on child safety
and abuse prevention

May 24 – The Rev. Dale Hayford, pastor of Crosswalk
Community Church, is expected to lead family members in prayer during a
quiet and private gravesite visit to observe the one-year anniversary of
Nevaeh’s abduction
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun May 23, 2010 10:58 am

Jim DuBay said a day doesn't go by that someone doesn't
drive into St. Joseph Cemetery in search of Nevaeh Buchanan's grave.

They have left stuffed animals, toys, and bouquets of
artificial flowers at the granite headstone for the 5-year-old girl
whose killing remains unsolved, said Mr. DuBay, manager of the Catholic cemetery.

"There has been a steady stream of people into here.
There is no question that she has attracted a lot of visitors," he said.
"Some people come into the office to ask where they can find her grave.
They want to know where Nevaeh is buried."

Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary of her
disappearance while playing outside the Monroe apartment complex where
she lived with her grandmother and mother.

Finding the missing girl became the community's top priority.
Hundreds of volunteers and law-enforcement officers
scoured woods and fields throughout the county. Divers explored the deep
waters of quarries and lakes, and police officers took to the air in
helicopters in search of clues.
A mammoth
memorial of candles, notes, stuffed animals, flowers, and toys sprang up
around a towering cottonwood tree outside the girl's home at Charlotte
Arms apartments.

The high-profile search gained national attention.
Television, radio, and newspaper reporters from Detroit and Toledo and
as far away as New York descended on the North Macomb Street apartment

Candlelight vigils were held nearly nightly at Charlotte
Arms and other locations in Monroe, drawing hundreds of concerned

For 11 days, Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan, her
grandmother, Sherry Buchanan, and other relatives clung to hope she
would be found alive and unharmed.

Their hopes gave way to tragic reality June 4 with the
grisly discovery of the girl's body buried in concrete along a remote
stretch of the River Raisin.

Days later, scores of people watched along Monroe's
streets as a Harley-Davidson motorcycle pulled the glass-enclosed hearse
containing her tiny white coffin to the cemetery.

Nearly a year later, there have been no arrests. Nevaeh's
mother and grandmother no longer live in the two-bedroom apartment at
Charlotte Arms.

Sherry Buchanan, who was Nevaeh's legal guardian, now
lives with her sister and brother-in-law across town at the Willow Green
Mobile Home Park.

A poster offering $20,000 for information leading to the
arrest and conviction of those responsible for the girl's abduction and
killing hangs on the fence outside the couple's well-kept mobile home.[/size]

Mrs. Buchanan said in an interview last week that she
often thinks of Nevaeh, especially at night after working shifts at a
Monroe grocery store.

"She is never out of my mind," she said. "She was like my
little sidekick. Me and her did everything together."

Nevaeh's father, Shane Hinojosa of Toledo, said knowing
that the person responsible for his daughter's death is still on the
loose is both worrisome and painful.

"There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about
what happened. All I can do is to keep the memories that I have of
her," Mr. Hinojosa said.

An open case

In the days after the abduction, a task force of local,
state, and federal investigators was handling more than 100 calls a day,
leading to nearly 1,300 tips collected in the case.

On the three-month anniversary of her disappearance,
investigators with the task force said daily tips in the case had
trickled to single digits.

Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold said the
investigation is continuing and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the
lead agency, is still seeking tips.

"We are still very proactive in this case," Agent
Berchtold said. "By far, this is not a cold case. It is still open.
There is still sufficient work to be done. We are still receiving tips
and we still want tips."

Sherry Buchanan said she last talked to sheriff's
investigators about a month ago when a detective asked to obtain a copy
of a digital video recording taken of Nevaeh's graduation from preschool
just days before her abduction.

For the most part, she said, detectives have been
tight-lipped, limiting details of the investigation.

"It is frustrating. Not knowing just exactly what is
going on and how close in the investigation they are," Mrs. Buchanan said.

Quest for closure
The investigation almost immediately focused on George
Kennedy, a convicted sex offender who had been in a relationship with
Nevaeh's mother.

Kennedy and Roy Lee Smith, also a convicted sex offender
and acquaintance of Jennifer Buchanan, were arrested for parole violations.

Described as "persons of interest" in the investigation,
neither was charged but both men were sent back to prison for parole violations.

Kennedy, 40, who was transferred in January to a
low-level correctional facility in Jackson. Mich., will have his next
parole hearing one year from tomorrow, said John Cordell, Michigan
Department of Corrections spokesman.

Smith, 49, who is locked up in a state prison near
Traverse City, Mich., will go before the parole board on May 25, 2011,
the spokesman said.

Sherry Buchanan said she cannot begin to feel closure
until an arrest is made and someone is prosecuted.

"The hardest part is not knowing. If anybody knows
anything, and if they can understand the pain I am going through, just
please come forward," she said.

Justice for Nevaeh
The lack of an arrest has spurred Risa Thompson, a cousin
of Mr. Hinojosa, and others to form a group that strives to keep Nevaeh
in the public spotlight.

Called Justice for Nevaeh, the organization has launched a
poster campaign and offered a $1,500 reward for information in the
crime. That reward is separate from the $20,000 reward offered by law

"Our group decided that we need to do a totally anonymous
reward to get people to start talking," said Ms. Thompson, 42. Through
spaghetti dinners and raffles, the charity group has raised money for
the reward and funded a scholarship for youngsters in the Monroe Public
Schools preschool where Nevaeh was enrolled.

The Discovery Preschool program for children ages 2 to 5
moved from Cantrick Elementary near Charlotte Arms to the Riverside
Learning Center in September.

A wrought-iron bench donated in memory of Nevaeh by a
local greenhouse overlooks the school playground. Plans are in the works
to install a plaque on the back with an inscription and the little
girl's name.

Karen Herkimer, director of Discovery Preschool, said the
bench gives a place for parents to keep an eye on their children or sit
together and talk.

More important, Mrs. Herkimer said, she hopes the bench
serves as a reminder of the tragedy and the importance of protecting

"We can never forget what happened," she said. "We also
cannot forget that somebody is still walking around out there who is
responsible. That is a hard memory and a hard thought to have to think
that someone has not been caught yet," she said.

Yesterday, Justice for Neveah marked the one-year
anniversary with a carnival at the Moose Lodge on North Macomb near Charlotte Arms.

Games, entertainment, and children's activities were
scheduled as well as informational booths on child-safety awareness and
abuse and counseling programs.

Gabby's Ladder, a grief and counseling service in Monroe
that consoled Nevaeh's classmates and offered counseling support in
community sessions after the tragedy, was among the groups that had
literature available.

"Life is precious. Life is fragile. We need to be
watchful all the time," said Kaye Lani Wilson, executive director of the
nonprofit group.

A healing effect

The carnival and tributes such as the playground bench,
she said, can have a healing effect for children and their families.

"When it hits so close to home like it did for these
kids, it is very frightening. Children and adults and most everyone felt
very vulnerable and probably felt that anything can happen at any
time," she said. "The bench is a place of reflection and place to
remember the short life of a very beautiful girl who was tragically taken from us."

Information about the reward offered by Justice for
Nevaeh can be obtained at 412-849-0079 or by contacting Ms. Thompson at
734-419-3232. Tips and information can be left with the Nevaeh Buchanan
Task Force at 734-457-6713.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:35 am

A simple surveillance camera about the size of a pack of cigarettes
is wedged between the kitchen window and the sill. A cable snakes around
the sink, across the counter and into the family room until it connects
to a 12-inch, black-and-white TV.Christina Pillette, 61, perches
on her couch, watching that television, looking for clues, sometimes
for hours at a time, acting like a real-life detective in some real-life
TV show, trying to solve the year-old slaying that still haunts Monroe:
Who killed 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, burying her in a shallow grave,
covering her with cement by the River Raisin?"There he is,"
Pillette says excitedly, watching as her neighbor, James Easter, walks
out of his Monroe duplex. Police named Easter one of three persons of
interest in the case on May 31, 2009, seven days after Nevaeh
disappeared. He was questioned but never charged with any crime. The
other two men were returned to prison for violating parole.Pillette
and her husband, Dennis, moved into a one-story, three-bedroom house
next to Easter's and started to watch him around the clock.Easter
says he knows he is being watched. By the police. By neighbors. By just
about everybody."If they want to watch, let them watch," he
says. "If they want to talk behind my back, I don't care about that
either." Because, he says, he is innocent.Nevaeh's death has
broken apart families, pitted neighbors against one another, and left
behind an uneasy swirl of fear and rumors, scrutiny and unfounded
accusations. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says it has chased down
more than 1,200 leads, but so far, no arrests have been made."Some
are genuinely concerned," said Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield. "Is it my
neighbor? Is it my cousin? Who is it?"

He isn't charged, but can't escape others' suspicions
Easter smiles an empty smile. He has four teeth left in his mouth.
Over the last year, he has torn out several by hand, wiggling them back
and forth, enduring a pain that felt like he was chewing shards of
glass, trying to save money by doing it himself, until each tooth
finally broke free.Easter stands in his bedroom, wearing the same
clothes as the day before, blue jeans and a blue-and-gray camouflage
shirt. Pornography is stacked by his bed. A video featuring Ted Bundy,
the infamous serial killer, stands on the shelf in the front room.He
lives in a cramped, cluttered, three-bedroom Monroe duplex with three
large dogs, including one that he warns can strike like a rattlesnake.
"Don't make any quick movements above his head," he says.The
carpet is stained and covered with dog hair. Boxes and papers and
photographs and videotapes are piled in every room.In the front
room, Easter keeps a neat stack of newspapers about Nevaeh Buchanan's
disappearance and death. Easter was one of the three men named a person
of interest in the abduction of the 5-year-old girl from the parking lot
of her Monroe apartment complex.Easter has collected almost
every story written about Nevaeh in the Monroe Evening News -- all but
two, he says proudly, and as soon as he says this, he realizes it might
sound suspicious."Don't say: 'Could this guy be collecting this
because pedophiles and murderers like to collect their little evidence?'
No," Easter says.He is frustrated by the police. He says they
still have his bedspread locked up in evidence along with more than 100
of his X-rated movies and other videos, which were taken from his
apartment after the little girl went missing May 24, 2009. Easter was
held for questioning for three days but was later released. No charges
have ever been filed in the case, and police will not say who is or
isn't a person of interest. That uncertainty has left many parents
afraid, unwilling to let their children play outside without being under
constant watch.

A chilling ramble

The Free Press interviewed Easter four times in the last month. He
was cordial and accommodating, but at times quirky, doing an entire
interview holding a half-eaten fried chicken leg in his hand, which he
waved back and forth to make a point.A retired steel factory
worker who was once arrested for indecent exposure, Easter, 65,
describes himself as a loner, afraid to be around large groups or eat in
restaurants. His strongest, most rewarding relationship is with his
dogs, mutts that are all related and descended from a pit bull and a
boxer.Police cars park outside his duplex. And the officers sit
there. Watching.Easter's life was ruined, he says, the moment his
name was linked to Nevaeh's disappearance and death. He says he hasn't
seen his own granddaughter in more than a year, intimating that his
family won't let him near her because of the Nevaeh case.He feels
persecuted and tormented. Somebody tore down his Christmas lights and
busted his window.He says he understands the police scrutiny, but
insists he is innocent. The killer, he says, should face capital
punishment."If I had my way, I'd go back to the old days and put a
rope around his neck and let him feel it slowly," Easter says. "Not
just drop him where it's over in a second."He snaps his fingers,
and then his voice changes. Without prompting, he starts speaking as if
he's talking to Nevaeh's killer."You choked her to death while
you were putting cement over her," he says. "Ready-mix cement. You
choked her to death to hold her in there."In a blink, his
perspective changes again and he begins a chilling rant, describing how
Nevaeh might have been killed."Man, visualize yourself on your
knees at the edge of the river," Easter says, starting to ramble. "And
this little girl, and you already have the hole dug and now you are
holding her in there. Now, what do you got? You got a pail here where
you knocked over. And you scooped the rest over. Maybe, it's possible
you could have done it by yourself and your hands are in there, holding
her down, while she is struggling and her legs are kicking up and pretty
soon she finally suffocates."He leans over his bed, moving his
arms, as if he is acting out what Nevaeh's killer might have done on the
shores of the River Raisin."Now, you imbed her legs," he says,
moving his hands as if he is tucking her legs into a hole. "And curl up
her body, whatever way you do. Put some more."He suggests the
killer might have needed more concrete to finish the job and cover
Nevaeh's body."Maybe, you have a second bag and you get some
water from the river and start mixing some more and put it," he says.
"He was well-equipped. He or she or both of them knew what they were
going to do."He finishes and sniffles. In every interview, he
stresses over and over that he didn't kill the child."That's not
in my nature," he says.He says he wouldn't risk going to jail. "I
wouldn't tempt it."Easter says he remembers the first time he
saw Nevaeh. He is certain it was her, although he never saw her face. He
was looking through a sliding glass door, standing in his girlfriend's
apartment on the second floor at the Charlotte Arms apartment complex in
Monroe, where the little girl lived with her mother and grandmother.He
recalls everything about the moment. Where she was standing. What she
was wearing. What she was doing. What he was thinking.Her long
hair was pulled back and she stood near the back fence wearing a "nice,
pretty dress" that he remembers as "white or a soft pink."It also
is possible that he didn't see Nevaeh -- she was a tomboy and almost
never wore dresses; she liked motorcycles and trucks.But Easter
says he is certain it was her. He watched as she walked along the fence,
letting her fingers strum against the metal.

An obsession
It is early May and a City of Monroe police car has been parked
outside Easter's home for about 30 minutes. Pillette could glance
outside her own window to see it, but she watches the action on the TV
screen from the surveillance system she and her husband set up to
monitor Easter."See," she says, pointing at the cop car on the
screen. "See him?"As Easter goes to his car, the police cruiser
leaves."They are making him real nervous," she says.For
Pillette, a grandmother who makes extra money selling crafts, watching
Easter and trying to solve the mystery has become an obsession. She
follows him when he travels around Monroe, over one of the bridges, past
the Gen. George Custer monument -- Custer married a woman from Monroe
-- over to Charlotte Arms apartments to see his girlfriend, trailing him
like she is an undercover cop, on an undercover mission. Sometimes, she
borrows a car so he doesn't know it's her."I want to find who
did this," she says. "I think he has something to do with this."She
has no evidence to support that statement, none whatsoever.Pillette
met Nevaeh only once, about a year before she was abducted. The woman
was considering renting an apartment at the Charlotte Arms complex, and
Sherry Buchanan, Nevaeh's grandmother, gave Pillette a tour. They ended
up spending several hours together, and Pillette became enamored with
Nevaeh, a precious brown-eyed, brown haired girl.Pillette visits
Nevaeh's grave just about every day, sometimes for hours at a time. She
is furious that somebody hurt this child, and she is trying to solve the
crime before another is abducted and killed. She feels it is her civic
duty.A VCR runs continuously, recording Easter's movements."I
watch this all the time," she says. "Sometimes, I get up at 5 in the
morning. Sometimes I'm up at 3. I watch real close.""I'm going to
follow him tonight," she says. "I want to find out where he's going.

"'I wasn't there'
Easter says he was in his apartment across town on the day Nevaeh
went missing. Easter's girlfriend, Janie Austin, says she was in her
apartment at Charlotte Arms, a complex that includes three three-story
buildings that face a fenced-in pool and clubhouse.Standing on
her balcony, tending to her plants, Austin says she might have been the
last person to see Nevaeh before she was abducted."It was 5 or 6
o'clock," she says. "I just saw her go by with the little boy behind her
on the scooter. She was riding by like a wonderful little child."Austin,
who lived in the same building with Nevaeh, her mother and grandmother,
says she went inside to finish cooking dinner. Nevaeh disappeared just
"minutes later.""I came out and the scooter was sitting under my
bedroom window, right there, and Nevaeh was not there," she says.Austin
didn't hear any screams. "They took her from right under my window. I
wasn't there. Christ almighty, I wasn't there. I wasn't there. I wasn't
there."Her voice trails off into a whisper, as she repeats the
phrase: "I wasn't there."A while later that day, Austin says she
heard Jennifer Buchanan, Nevaeh's mother, screaming for her daughter at
the front of the building."I feel that somebody I know was
involved," Austin says. "But we are going to leave that alone."She
refused to elaborate, although she did say she believes Easter played
no role in the child's disappearance and death."I know they took
her from that corner," Austin says. "Poor thing. Baby, baby, baby."

A few minutes after getting off work, Sherry Buchanan's cell phone
rang in the parking lot at the Food Town, a grocery store in Monroe."Nevaeh
is missing," said her daughter, Jennifer Buchanan.Though Nevaeh
was Jennifer's daughter, Sherry Buchanan raised the little girl when
Jennifer was in prison after being convicted in 2006 on a first-degree
home invasion charge.Sherry Buchanan raced down Telegraph Road,
blowing through red lights to get to the Charlotte Arms apartment
complex, where she lived with her daughter and granddaughter in a
two-bedroom, ground-floor apartment.An Amber Alert was issued for
Nevaeh, who was last seen wearing knee-length jeans and a baby blue,
red-and-white striped shirt with a V-neck white collar. Sherry talked to
the news media, begging for Nevaeh's return, no questions asked.

The interrogation
Two guys wearing short-sleeved shirts knocked on Easter's door,
introducing themselves as FBI agents. Easter remembers them saying they
wanted to talk about the Nevaeh case. He invited them inside.As
the agents looked through his apartment, Easter sat on the couch and
didn't know what to do. "I let them go through all that stuff," Easter
says. "Then they asked me if I would come down with them. It would only
be a while."He thought it would be for an hour. But the
interrogation lasted 12 hours.One would say, "Come on. You know
you did it."The other one would say: "We know you did it. Tell us
the truth."At times, Easter says, he was left alone in a room
and felt he was being watched or videotaped. "I saw the quarter-size
peep hole where a camera is looking. I know about that stuff."Detectives
accused him of following Jennifer Buchanan and Nevaeh, Easter says.
"They kept blaming me for following the mother and girl out of Kmart,"
Easter says. "I didn't like that one. I told them I didn't know what
they looked like."Easter says he took a polygraph test and the
agents told him he had failed some questions. "They wouldn't give me any
detail what," he says. "Christ almighty, it made me sick. I just wanted
to reach out and ... "He cackles and squeezes his hands
together, as if he were strangling somebody and made a sound like he was
squeezing air out of a balloon."Not that I would, but, you know,
I felt like it in a way," he says.The agents drilled him with
questions about different days before Nevaeh disappeared, trying to
verify where he was and he says he told them that he had some receipts
that would prove his whereabouts.After 12 hours, the FBI agents
brought him home. Easter says he showed the agents some receipts and
they left."It still hurts when you know you are innocent," he
says. "I kept saying in different ways, 'When this is over, you owe me
an apology.' "

'Get down, get down!'
Back in his duplex, just a few minutes after the FBI agents left,
Easter says he started a fire in his backyard, burning receipts, some TV
dinners and a sex toy. He says he felt "shame" about having a sex toy.
"I've had it a little too long," he says. "I might as well get rid of
it."He walked back into his house and his dogs started barking.
He peeked through the blinds but didn't see anything. He opened the
storm door and several officers came rushing at him from the south
corner of his duplex."Six to nine of them, some in blue
uniforms," he remembers.They screamed at him to "get down, get
down!"He was handcuffed.He says the police poked through
the fire, "finding this and finding that."Easter was held for
three days on charges related to burning property.He remembers a
tall FBI agent asking him: "Explain this, Jim: What do you think
happened?"Easter says he tried to answer -- hypothetically."If
I was a bad guy and I was looking for something like a little girl or a
little child, I would have drove my pickup in there," he told the Free
Press. "I would have made a horseshoe around the office and the pool."He
says he would have pulled onto the street, turned on his hazard lights,
pretending to have a vehicle problem, and then "snuck up along the
blind side of those pine trees. Walked clear to where she had been.
That's a long ways to go. You have to go past the Dumpsters. Then, there
is an opening before you get to the street. There were always
maintenance people hanging around there."Police searched his home
and carried out boxes of X-rated videos. The evidence log is three
pages long. The first item listed was the burned sex toy found in the
fire pit. Other items include a roll of duct tape, gloves from a red
garbage can and several Barbie dolls. Easter says he bought the dolls
for his granddaughter and planned to give them to her for Christmas.Police
took fiber samples from the carpet and furniture and dusted for
fingerprints around the bathtub and other high-traffic areas.Bloodstains
were found outside his bathroom, behind the faucet of his sink and on a
quilt. Easter says he is not sure where the blood came from. Maybe he
cut himself.He was released from custody June 1, 2009, and at the
time, District Judge Jack Vitale said Easter was no longer a person of
interest. But to this day, police have never publicly cleared him.

The big regret

Easter has at least one regret. Back in the 1990s, he was charged
with indecent exposure and sentenced to a year of probation. He went
behind the library in Monroe and took off his clothes."It was
kind of a warm day," he says. "I took my clothes off for a little
sunshine. It was on a Sunday. Two boys came with their dog, and I never
did see them."That was a mistake. I just felt I wanted to get a
little warm, and a little suntan. If I could back up, that would never
have happened."Police continue to ask Easter questions. Months
after Nevaeh went missing, an officer dropped off a seven-page
questionnaire. "It might have been in February," Easter says.Some
of the questions included:"If you were going to conduct the
investigation, how would you do it?""Do you know who abducted
Nevaeh Buchanan?""Did you abduct Nevaeh Buchanan?""Did you
take part in the abduction of Nevaeh Buchanan?"He didn't fill it
out, afraid that his answers would one day be used against him.He
says he is careful where he travels. He has never gone to the site
where Nevaeh was found because he fears it would make him look guilty."I
didn't even want to go near the area," he says, "because that's all it
would have took is for them to believe more that Jim is the one. Jim is
the one."
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:36 am

Sometimes, when the world seems dark and the tears come, Guy Bickley
pulls out a letter.It was written by Debbie Kansier, a stranger
from Monroe.
"Dear Mr. Bickley, I know you have wondered why it had to be you who
found little Nevaeh. ... I went on one of the searches for her and knew
it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. My prayers became,
'Please dear God, reveal her whereabouts. Please lead someone to her.' "

Kansier, 58, has a grandson and granddaughter about the same age as
Nevaeh Buchanan. She remembers the stillness the day the 5-year-old girl
disappeared, a sad silence broken only by the sound of helicopters. To
this day, when she hears a helicopter, she thinks about searching for
Nevaeh in a farmer's field.
"God used you as his instrument," Kansier wrote. "Do not think for a
minute it was coincidence. ... Our God uses ordinary people to do
extraordinary things. He will also comfort and bless you during this
difficult time. You are a special man. Thank you."

Bickley reads those words and finds some relief. Because he feels he was
used that day, June 4, 2009. He believes he was led by a higher power.
The day he found Nevaeh in a shallow grave by the River Raisin.

Nothing's same since that day
Guy Bickley had planned to go fishing with his dad, Lowell Kirk, on
Lake Erie, but it was windy on June 4, 2009, and on a whim -- in one of
those moments that would change his life forever -- he switched
everything."How 'bout fishing on a river?" he asked."OK,"
his dad said.They headed down to the River Raisin to fish a spot
that Bickley had always wanted to try, but never had the time.Bickley,
53, of Newport parked off Dixon Road in Raisinville Township, across
the street from a farmer's field, inside a guardrail, on the edge of the
drop-off about 20 feet above the river. "It's pretty much straight
down, with some flat spots to get some traction. That didn't deter us,"
he said. "That just meant fewer people would go down there, in our
eyes."Bickley let his father have the best spot, a wide-open
area. Bickley took a small, flat area and stood on a thin concrete slab.
He assumed the concrete was part of the road that had washed down the
embankment.They had a couple lines going and caught so many fish
they quickly lost track: suckers and bullhead, rock bass and blue gills."Do
you smell that?" Bickley asked."Yeah," Kirk said.The
smell came and went, like it was being carried in the wind. Bickley
walked upstream and saw a logjam. He thought that perhaps a dead fish
was stuck in there.After about three hours of fishing, the
concrete slab started to crack, and Bickley noticed about a half-dozen
flies on his legs. "Dad, something's not right here," he remembers
saying.He bounced on the concrete, and it went down and came
right back up, like it was floating. "It was like there was a balloon or
ball under there," he says. "Dirt don't do that, let alone concrete."Bickley
kicked it with the toe of his work boot. He estimates that it was only
about a half-inch thick. A chunk maybe 8 inches long and 6 inches wide
came apart, and he saw some skin."It wasn't the belly of an
animal," Bickley says, lowering his voice. "It wasn't a fish. It was
skin, you know, with super fine little hair."He assumes he was
looking at the back of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, who'd disappeared
from her Monroe apartment complex 10 days earlier.Immediately,
they packed up and called 911.

Everything changes
Later that night, Bickley was interviewed by the FBI and gave a DNA
swab sample. "They told us that it was to eliminate us possibly from
anything they might find of ours, a cigarette butt or pop can, knowing
we were there," he said.Bickley, who works in construction
part-time, has years of experience working with concrete. He said the
killer probably used the river water to mix the concrete. "It was nice
and smooth. Some water had to be added ... so it would set."The
next day, he was doing an interview with a TV reporter and started
crying."I crashed," he said. "I lost it."It felt like the
world was caving in on him. "All of a sudden, all I could do was think
of my own kids: What if it was my son? What if it was my daughter? What
if it was one of my nieces? I started to get very emotional."The
experience has changed him. Normally an upbeat guy, Bickley has taken on
a dark and foreboding view of life. "If somebody can take the life of a
little baby like that, then nothing is what we think it is," he says."It
hit me a lot deeper than I was willing to admit in the beginning."As
Bickley changed, so did Monroe, a bedroom community between Detroit and
Toledo that gained fame for being the childhood home of Gen. George
Custer and the hometown of Kaye Lani Rae Rafko, Miss America 1988.Suddenly,
the case was featured on national TV programs. The archivist at the
Monroe County Historical Museum was clipping newspaper stories about a
slain child and parents hesitated before allowing their kids to ride
their bikes around the block.

Cops won't give up

Police stayed along the banks of the River Raisin for two days,
searching for clues.Detective Sgt. Heath Velliquette, who heads
the detective bureau at the Monroe County Sherriff's Office, freezes
with emotion when he thinks about being at the river and seeing Nevaeh's
makeshift grave."I don't want to talk about that," he says,
slowly.The detectives worked so many hours under so much
pressure, Velliquette kept an eye on his team, careful to make sure that
no one lost it. When somebody looked exhausted, he would make that
person leave the scene and go on an errand, picking up lunch or running
paperwork."Nothing is the same after working an investigation
like this," he says.The task force stayed together for months,
but eventually, as the tips started to dry up, the officers from the
other departments and agencies started to leave town."We are
still investigating," Velliquette said in May, before the one-year
anniversary of Nevaeh's disappearance. "We have reached out to numerous
agencies around the country and compared notes, to see if there is any
kind of correlation, something we don't see," Velliquette said. Monroe
County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield said he is confident the case will be
solved."We are taking a very methodical approach to the
investigation," he said. "We are looking at every detail. We are
analyzing those details. We are going outside of our investigative
circle. We are asking for expert opinions in particular fields. We are
being very careful. We don't want to overlook anything."His
department has sought help from psychologists and sociologists. "We want
the best we can get," Crutchfield said. "We look for other opinions.
We've had teams of experts come in and review the investigation for that
purpose. Are we doing what we should be doing? If not, what suggestions
can you give us?""We aren't to the point where we want to go out
and make an arrest, but we have made a lot of progress, very
significant progress. I was asked by a county commissioner, 'How much is
the county spending on this investigation?'"My response was,
'What value are you going to place on that child's life? I am going to
expend the resources to resolve this case and bring it to a successful

Family seeks answers

Nevaeh's family is struggling with grief, wrapped in confusion and
suspicion.On the day Nevaeh disappeared, Diana Lawson saw her
niece in the parking lot of her apartment complex."Love you,"
Lawson remembers saying."Love you, too," Nevaeh replied.Lawson,
58, of Monroe looked in the rearview mirror and said she felt a burst
of energy that she describes as a psychic feeling. "It was like a
flash," she says. She struggles to describe it: "The thing that came to
me, it was like this, sssshhhew! That quick. I thought, 'Oh, that's
weird.' "Living in grief, struggling to understand something so
unimaginable, Lawson and Nevaeh's other family members are left grasping
for answers that never come, chasing their gut feelings, hoping,
praying they are being led by a higher power."I've asked Nevaeh
to show me something," Lawson says. "And she has shown me a red car."Whenever
Lawson sees a red car that looks out of place, she writes down the
license plate number.Lawson says for a while, she called the
detectives almost every day, to the point where "they must have thought I
was looney."The detectives have chased more than 1,200 tips,
Velliquette said, sometimes returning to them to investigate more than

Normal isn't possible
A couple of months after the family buried Nevaeh, the girl's
grandmother Sherry Buchanan moved out of the apartment at Charlotte
Arms, where she lived with her daughter and granddaughter. She now lives
in a mobile home in Monroe with her sister and brother-in-law."There
were too many memories" at the apartment, Buchanan says.Seeing
the corner of the building where Nevaeh left her scooter. Walking the
halls where Nevaeh used to run barefoot. Sitting in the room where her
daughter, Jennifer Buchanan, sat, as Nevaeh was taken from the parking
lot."It was hard," Sherry Buchanan says. "I was not comfortable. I
just got out of there."She has dark circles under her eyes. Her
face looks tired. She works every other day in a grocery store but her
hours have been cut back because of the economy. "The hardest part is
when I get my paycheck, every other Friday," she says. "I don't get to
take my granddaughter to McDonald's. That was our pastime."Other
times, when she got her paycheck, she would take Nevaeh to the dollar
store. "She would get two little motorcycles and head to the cash
register."Nevaeh named all of her stuffed animals. The black Lab
was Tank. Her favorite, a beagle, was Harley. For weeks after she
disappeared, the stuffed animals smelled like Nevaeh, and Buchanan slept
with one to feel near her granddaughter.Over time, the scent
faded, and Buchanan tried to slip back into a normal way of life, but it
was impossible. She went to work at the grocery store. Back home for
another night of anguish. Up late. Unable to sleep. Tossing and turning.
Pain and anger."I just stand up every day," Buchanan says. "I
ask the good Lord up above to give me strength. It's hard to keep going
every day."

Questions linger

At times, Bickley wonders why he found Nevaeh's body.He is
glad he found the child. She needed to be found, as he says, but he
wishes somebody else found her. He was awarded $20,000 from the FBI,
money he shared with his father."Screw the money," he says. "It
has released a lot of emotions I don't like. I don't need to be breaking
up so easily. I don't want to be unsympathetic, but it's released a
whole number of emotions."Since that day, he has been to the
river two or three times.He stops by the road where he found
Nevaeh's body and pays his respects. "I say hi and I leave," he said."It's
the last place she was. It's where I met her. Her soul was there. I
believe something is there. You don't die someplace and not leave
something. And she was alive when they buried her. They found dirt in
her lungs. That's another reason why I think she's there."A soul
leaving a body is truly a miraculous thing, coming or going."
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:01 pm

Her mother named the little girl Nevaeh, "heaven" spelled backwards.
Jennifer Buchanan says her daughter always was a little bit of heaven
to her. Nevaeh Buchanan was 5 when she was kidnapped on May 24
last year; her body was found in a shallow grave on June 4. A
fisherman found Nevaeh's body along the bank of the River Raisin near
Monroe, Michigan, about 10 miles from the apartment she shared with her
mother and grandmother. An autopsy showed the child died of
asphyxiation. According to local news reports, she was most likely
buried alive, though police will not formally confirm details. They did
say, however, that a material similar to cement was found on top of her
body. A year later, no one has been charged with abducting and
killing Nevaeh. Her family is still waiting for answers. Last
month, on the anniversary of the child's death, an organization called
Justice for Nevaeh held a rally down the street from the apartment
complex where she lived. The event included games and food for children
as well as karate, self-defense classes and child safety presentations.
Nevaeh was last seen the evening of May 24, playing in the U-turn
driveway of her apartment complex. "She wasn't supposed to be
outside," Jennifer Buchanan said. "She was supposed to be upstairs at a
neighbor's playing with her friend at their place."Buchanan said
she searched for Nevaeh after another child tattled
that she was playing outside. She recalled the cold fear that gripped
her when she found her daughter's tricycle abandoned at the edge of the
property. "The sun was going down. It was almost 8 p.m. so I went
looking for Nevaeh, but we couldn't find her," said Buchanan, 25, who
herself had recently been in trouble with the law. She had spent a few
weeks in jail before being placed on probation in connection with a home
invasion. "I was in some trouble, but after I got out I focused
on my daughter and getting my life back together," Buchanan said. Nevaeh's
official guardian was her grandmother, who lived in the apartment with
them. Buchanan said police told her that Nevaeh was not sexually
assaulted and that no drugs were found in her system. Police
would not discuss whether the child was sexually abused, but Detective
Sgt. Heath Velliquette of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said
toxicology reports came back negative. Early in the
investigation, police focused on two of Buchanan's friends. Both were
convicted sex offenders. The men were arrested on parole violations and
questioned extensively. Neither has been officially named a suspect.
One of the men was living at a nearby motel, and police searched his
room but found no forensic evidence to connect him to the child's
disappearance. Buchanan explained that she met one of the men
while reporting to her probation officer. She said she had known him for
two years and never left her daughter alone with him. Nevaeh
called him "Daddy George," and he brought her toys and gifts, Buchanan
added. She said she knew about his past rape case, adding, "I believe
people should get a second chance."Police have since shifted their focus away from the two sex
offenders. "We are looking in a different direction in recent
months, based on our investigation," said Velliquette. Investigators
are looking at another Monroe resident, but Velliquette would provide
no further details. "This is not a cold case," Velliquette said.
"We are following up leads and investigating new information every day."
Police say that while they are not naming any suspects or persons of
interest, investigators have not ruled anyone out either.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for any
information leading to the arrest of a suspect. If anyone has any
information, police ask that you call their tip line at 734-457-6713.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:58 am

A group working to find the killer of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan began circulating posters Sunday that they admit are a little "in your face."With three photos of a smiling Nevaeh followed by a picture of the river bank where her body was found and of her grave site, the posters contain an open letter from the little girl to her killer."Tell me, how do you sleep at night knowing what you did to me?" reads the text, written as if spoken by Nevaeh herself. "When you fall asleep, do you hear my heart beating? Do you hear me breathing? Giggling? Crying? You were once 5 just like me. Tell me, did I deserve this?"Pittsburgh attorney Joseph Starkey, Jr., co-chairman of Justice for Nevaeh, said the group decided it was time to step up its campaign to find out how Nevaeh vanished May 24, 2009, outside the Monroe apartment complex where she lived with her mother and grandmother. Her body was found 11 days later under concrete along the banks of the River Raisin.
Some 15 months later, no arrests have been made in the nationally publicized case."We needed to think of a way to become a little more provocative, maybe a little more aggressive, understanding that whoever did this doesn't have a conscience - but maybe they do - or maybe someone they know does," Mr. Starkey said.Justice for Nevaeh has increased its reward for information leading to an arrest in the case to $2,500. With $2,500 from Crime Stoppers of Michigan and $20,000 from law enforcement, the reward adds up to $25,000.The group held a gathering at the Moose Lodge in Monroe Sunday to distribute the posters, but the event attracted just a handful of people.
The absence of a crowd unsettled Brandi Elmore, who stopped by with her husband, Dion, and their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Alexis.They did not know Nevaeh or her family, Ms. Elmore said, but helped search for the missing girl each evening after work until Nevaeh was found."It seems like people are forgetting. It's going to the back burner," Ms. Elmore said. "No matter where you live in Monroe, it happened in your backyard."As Alexis played with a tiny stuffed kitten handed out at the event, her mother said Nevaeh's disappearance and killing were unsettling particularly because their daughter was just a year old at the time."We both went to the funeral. I needed closure," she recalled. "It was very hard, and when you've been searching for 11 days, that becomes part of your life."Like the Elmores, neither Mr. Starkey nor Risa Thompson, co-chairman of the Justice for Nevaeh group, ever met the young girl.Although Ms. Thompson is a distant cousin of Nevaeh's father, she said she was drawn to help out simply as an admittedly overprotective mother."She captured my heart from the beginning," said Ms. Thompson, of Garden City, Mich.She said her group has distributed about 5,000 posters every month since it was established a year ago. Members plan to keep working to make sure the case is not forgotten."I will never give up," Ms. Thompson said. "If it's the last breath I take, I will still seek justice."Justice For Nevaeh has raised money for the reward and for a scholarship fund for students at the Monroe Public Schools preschool that Nevaeh attended.Mr. Starkey said all other costs, including printing posters, are borne by the group's members."This is a group of genuinely concerned citizens that want to see this case solved," he said. "… Our hope is that people don't get bored with us. I don't want people to say, 'Not them again.' I want people to say, 'Boy, those people really care.'"The new posters conclude with a plea to call 734-457-6713, which is the Nevaeh Buchanan Task Force at the Monroe County Sheriff's Department."Tell them what you did or what you know so that we all can rest in peace," the poster reads. "[Signed,] Nevaeh."
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by kiwimom on Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:56 am

Jan 30th 2011

Guests: Joseph Starkey, Risa Smith and Karen Herkimer.
This week on Roundtable, Jeff Smith sits down with the members of
"Justice for Nevaeh" -- Joseph Starkey, Risa Smith and Karen Herkimer. This spring will mark two years since the abduction and murder of a
five-year-old Monroe girl. There is still no one in custody for the
crime. Little Nevaeh Buchanan was taken from outside the
apartment where she lived in May of 2009. Weeks later, fishermen
found her body encased in cement along the banks of the River Raisin.
The group Justice for Nevaeh continues to work on
bringing closure to the case. We asked them if they think the
missing Morenci boys case has helped or hindered their efforts. Risa Smith says, "I think it's helped. It's made people aware that unfortunately these things continue to happen." Joe Starkey says, "Despite the fact there probably are not parallels in
the case, the message is the same. The message is that we need to
protect our children. The message is that we can't teach our children
don't talk to strangers and then leave it at that because a child is
going to talk to a stranger." Members of Justice for Nevaeh
say they continue to get tips and leads on the case. The reward
for information leading to an arrest is now at $50,000.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by mom_in_il on Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:31 pm

Nevaeh's family, friends tired of waiting for answers in her murder
by Laura Rice
Posted: 02.17.2011 at 11:43 PM


MONROE, MICHIGAN -- It is nearing two years since a 5-year-old Monroe girl was kidnapped, murdered and found in a shallow grave. You know her name by now: Nevaeh Buchanan.

But there is much we still do not know, mainly, her killer.

For family and close friends, the wait is becoming unbearable.

"The family feels like we're at a standstill and that's what's going on with us right now. We're at a standstill. No answers, nothing," said Sherry Buchanan, Nevaeh's grandmother.

If you know anything, call (734) 457-6713.

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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by kiwimom on Sun May 29, 2011 9:24 am

Nevaeh remembered with tree plantings, playscape dedication
May 29. 2011 12:51AM

Justice for Nevaeh Vice President Risa Smith holds steady a tree
Saturday as President Joe Starkey fills dirt around its base near the
playscape behind the Monroe Moose Family Center in Monroe Saturday. The
flowering apple tree was the second planted in honor of Nevaeh Buchanan.

Justice for Nevaeh dedicated two trees and a playground Saturday in the memory of Nevaeh Buchanan of Monroe.
The 5-year-old girl was reported missing May 24, 2009, from her Macomb St. neighborhood and found dead several days later.
A year ago, a bench was dedicated in her memory at Riverside Learning Center.
This year's anniversary remembrances involved flowering
apple trees placed at Riverside Learning Center and at Monroe Moose
Family Center 884. A playground called Nevaeh's Playscape also was
dedicated Saturday at the Moose lodge.
Joe Starkey, president of Justice for Nevaeh, said the selection of flowering apple was meant as "a symbol of love and healing."
About 15 people attended the short service at Riverside, which include a recitation of Alfred Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees."
The school's tree was planted outside the classroom of
Michelle Sims, who taught Nevaeh's preschool class. Two years ago,
though, the preschool program was housed at Cantrick Learning Center, so
Cantrick was the campus where Nevaeh attended school.
Those attending the tree dedication included Eva Poupard and
her niece, Adrienne Poupard, both of Monroe. The elder Ms. Poupard said
her sister, Lee Harris of Monroe, had hoped to attend but wasn't able
to make it. Ms. Harris has a daughter who was one of Nevaeh's classmates.
The family was among the hundreds of people who participated
in search parties for the missing girl until two fishermen stumbled
across her body along the River Raisin in a remote area of Raisinville Township off Dixon Rd.
"We searched for her every day — wherever they told us to go," Eva Poupard said.
Although no arrest has been made in the case, there have
been repeated poster canvassing attempts in hopes of getting information
that investigators can use.
Eva Poupard is among those who expect justice will be served someday.
"Nevaeh touched all our hearts," she said.
The trees were donated by Snow Nursery of Monroe, and other donors helped with the playground expenses.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by mom_in_il on Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:36 am

Four years since the abduction of Nevaeh Buchanan

by Hubert Wiggins
Posted: 05.24.2013 at 6:26 PM

MONROE, MI -- Today marks the 4 year anniversary of the abduction of a Monroe, Michigan child.  5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan was playing in the parking lot of the Charlotte Arms apartment complex on Macomb Street when she was taken.  A massive search involving local, state and federal authorities ensued.  Nevaeh's body was discovered on June 4, 2005 by two fisherman on the banks of the River Raisin.  She was encased in concrete.  The coroner determined that Nevaeh was still alive when she was put in the concrete.  To date no arrests have been made and police have not ever named a suspect.

Risa Smith, who is a paternal relative of Nevaeh's, operates a website in Nevaeh's honor.  She says the family maintains hope the case will be solved.  "I don't think anyone wants to hear the word cold case; everyone holds out hope that justice will be served," Ms. Smith said.

Nevaeh's final resting place is at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Monroe.  Her tombstone has the inscription "Monroe's Little Angel".
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by mom_in_il on Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:39 am

Police zero in on suspect in Nevaeh Buchanan case

3:15 PM, May 24, 2012

MONROE — Police say they're closer to arresting the person responsible for kidnapping and murdering 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan of Monroe, who disappeared three years ago and was found buried near a Michigan river.

Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield tells the Monroe Evening News that investigators have "an eye on a person or persons" and have "significantly narrowed" their focus.

Crutchfield says the community is "not in danger from this person or persons," and an arrest is possible.

Sherry Buchanan, Nevaeh's grandmother, says she's frustrated that no one has been arrested. She says Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer, lives in Monroe with a friend and is working toward her GED.

Nevaeh disappeared May 24, 2009, from Monroe, about 35 miles south of Detroit. Her body was found 10 days later along the nearby River Raisin.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

Post by twinkletoes on Mon May 26, 2014 7:39 am

5 years later: Neveah Buchanan's murder still a mystery

Published On: May 24 2014 03:06:10 AM EDT  
Updated On: May 25 2014 04:53:57 AM EDT

MONROE, Mich. -

It's been five years since Neveah Buchanan was last seen playing outside an apartment complex in Monroe, Mich.

An Amber Alert was issued for the 5-year-old on May 24, 2009 -- but her body was found just days later on June 4, buried near the River Raisin. She was encased in concrete.

Early on, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department had named two persons of interest – James Easter and George Kennedy. Both convicted sex offenders who had previous relationships with Jennifer Buchanan.

But the two men were never charged.

In an interview with Local 4 in 2012, Jennifer Buchanan said she still hears accusations that she killed her daughter.
“I have nothing to do with this. If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you,” she said. 

She added she had not spoken to police in almost two years

Nevaeh’s family displays many reminders of her. A small memorial is built on a piece of the concrete that was used to conceal her body.

“It’s hard to let go right now. I’m not ready,” Jennifer Buchanan said. 

“It’s hard to let go right now. I’m not ready,” Jennifer Buchanan said. 

Slideshow: Neveah Buchanan

Neveah Buchanan was 5 years old when she was last seen playing outside an apartment complex in Monroe. Her body was found on June 4, 2009, buried near the River Raisin.
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Re: NEVAEH BUCHANAN - 5 yo (2009) - Monroe MI

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