Child's murder still unsolved

November 11, 2008 4:19:09 PM PST
The mother of murder victim Mya Lyons, 9, is pleading with police and the public to keep the case alive and find her daughter's killer. Lyons was found beaten and stabbed to death near her South Side home in July.

It was a dismal day at 84th and Gilbert. Ericka Barnes has been living with dismal since the murder of her daughter, Mya, on that block this summer.

"How much time does it take?" Barnes said. "It's been four months. There is no one, no one coming forward with what happened to my daughter."

Barnes and members of her family say they believe that someone on the block of 17 houses knows what happened the night of July 15, and in Tuesday afternoon's cold rain, they posted flyers appealing for help.

Mya was stabbed to death, her body left in an alley at the end of the block. Investigators were able to gather forensic evidence from the murder scene.

Police won't say what evidence they're analyzing or where they are in that process. But within days of the murder, they turned their attention to Mya's father.

Richard Lyons told police he discovered his daughter's body. He readily offered a DNA sample, took a polygraph exam and cooperated with police until, he says, they became accusatory. He has insisted he did not kill his daughter.

Barnes is frustrated because, she says, Richard Lyons will no longer speak to her.

The evidence work up has taken time, which forensic scientist Karl Reich says, is not at all unusual.

"It's hard to ask any family to wait, but sometimes the wait is worthwhile. And four months is not too long in any complex case," said Dr. Reich, Independent Forensics.

Forensics played a key role in another high-profile Chicago murder two years ago - the slaying of Dr. David Cornbleet. Formal charges in that case came 10 months later, after someone talked, and the forensics fit. Cornbleet's son Jon was determined to keep in his dad's murder in the public eye until it was solved. Barnes is determined to do the same for her daughter.

"I'm not gonna stop 'til this person is in jail. I'm not gonna stop. I can't stop," she siad.

Police say the murder of Mya Lyons is a complex case that will take time, but they say they are making progress.


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