EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSALIAYAH LUNSFORD
from Eyewitness News Online
FBI Has "Theory" On Lunsford Case; Break-In Ruled Out
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Mar. 29, 2012 7:08 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 29, 2012 7:21 PM EDT
Weston , Lewis County , West Virginia
More than six months later and Aliayah Lunsford's vanishing is still a mystery.
The FBI held it's first press conference in more than four months on the case, on Thursday.
"It's frustrating. Very frustrating, to know that still six months, and we know nothing," said Aliayah's great-aunt Tina Smith.
It's been a case with few strides since the day she vanished from her Bendale home. A 911 call made the morning of September 24, 2011 that sparked a massive search that's been six months of dead ends.
"The information is out there. We believe that someone in the community can help us resolve this matter," said FBI Senior Resident Agent John Hambrick.
The FBI says there's still an aggressive, everyday investigation. They say they've developed a working "theory" but refuse to say what it is, only publicly ruling out one.
"One of the original concerns was that there was a break-in resulting in Aliayah's disappearance. We have found no evidence to support that," said Hambrick.
They've fielded roughly 150 tips from the public through the West Virginia Fusion Center, but are lacking the one tip that would seal the case.
"If we had the evidence to make the arrest, we would. The bottom line is, the judicial system is what it is. We are held to certain standards in terms of how we investigate these crimes. And so, we are living up to our end of the bargain," said Hambrick.
Others continue to search on their own.
"Everyday that goes by, you wake up and you think, 'dear Lord, let this be the day we find Aliayah," said Patty Bean.
Aliayah's mother, Lena, and step-father Ralph have faced a lot of pubic scrutiny since the 3-year-old's disappearance, but investigators still refuse to say if they are considered suspects.
"Do you have any confidence that Aliayah could be alive?" asked Eyewitness News reporter Leslie Rubin at the conference. "I'm not going to discuss that," replied Hambrick.
"We're going to continue to look until we find her. We're going to continue to not give up until we find her and we bring her home," said Smith.
There is still a $20,000 reward in the case. Tips should be called in to the West Virginia Fusion Center at 304-558-4831 or submitted through www.fusioncenter.wv.gov.
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