Slain girl's father hires attorney

July 28, 2008 4:00:36 PM PDT
The investigation into the stabbing death of a 9-year-old Chicago girl two weeks ago is now focused on the little girl's South Side home. Investigators made two trips to the home of Mya Lyons' father over the weekend. In the two weeks since his daughter's murder, Richard Lyons has praised the police for their efforts and thanked the media for its attention to the case. But now, as the focus has shifted, he has chosen to no longer speak publicly and he says the police are treating him in a tone that is, "threatening and accusatory."

The morning after Richard Lyons found his daughter Mya's body, ABC7 asked police if they had any reason to consider Mr. Lyons as a possible suspect.

"At this point the family is cooperating with us, and I would say no," said CPD Detective Tom Byrne on July 15.

At that point, the investigation was less than 12 hours old. Richard Lyons was cooperating and allowed the police to obtain DNA from him and his son.

As recently as last Thursday, Lyons consented to take a lie detector text. But, after police came to his home with search warrants in the wee hours of Saturday morning and then again Sunday morning, Lyons hired an attorney.

"The family's grief in cases such as this often gets marginalized when suspicion turns toward the family because other leads dry up or fail to emerge," said Alan Blumenthal, Richard Lyons' attorney.

Blumental declined questions but read a statement saying Richard Lyons is a loving father who is in no way responsible for his daughter's death and that he regrets having to make that assertion.

"My family and I simply want to be left alone so that we can remember Mya and deal with our broken hearts," Lyons said. "I respectfully pray that they will capture the person who killed my baby."

Police have said very little about the status of the investigation. But after two search warrant visits in the middle of the night to the Lyons home, the focus is clearly on the family. The van was taken by police on Saturday though it had been parked at the Lyons' home all along, prompting neighbors to wonder aloud, why do they want it now?

"There's been no indication made to me by the police that Richard is a suspect of any kind," Blumental said.

Forensic evidence will likely be critical to where the investigation goes next. For now, police are not discussing that at all.


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