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Lena Lunsford indicted by Lewis County grand jury

WESTON — Lena Marie Lunsford was one of 11 indictments handed down by the Lewis County grand jury on Monday.

Lunsford, 34, of Clearwater, Florida, was indicted on four counts involving the 2011 disappearance and death of her daughter, Aliayah Paige Lunsford. Indictments include, the murder of a child by parent, guardian or custodian or other person by refusal or failure to provide necessities; the death of a child by parent, guardian or custodian or other person by child abuse; child abuse resulting in injury; and concealment of a deceased human body. All four counts are felonies.

Lunsford was arrested Nov. 4, 2016, and booked into Central Regional Jail, where she remains on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

On Sept. 24, 2011, 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford died of a blunt-force strike to the head with a solid handheld object, police alleged during a November press conference in Weston. The little girl’s mother then allegedly neglected to provide medical attention and orchestrated an attempt to cover up the crime, police said.

Lena Lunsford allegedly “knowingly and intentionally” struck the child while inside their Lewis County residence, according to a criminal complaint. There allegedly were witnesses to the bludgeoning of the child who stated Aliayah Lunsford fell to the ground from the head injury, the complaint alleges.

Lena Lunsford did not immediately provide help or medical assistance to the child and did not allow others present to provide medical assistance or contact medical personnel to assist the victim, who was visibly suffering from trauma caused by the attack, the complaint alleges.

Aliayah Lunsford died within hours of being struck. After her death, Lena Lunsford allegedly took steps to conceal the crime, the complaint states. These steps included originating a fictitious narrative regarding the death, destroying evidence, concealing the victim’s body and instructing witnesses to conceal the true circumstances of the victim’s death, according to the complaint.

Lena Lunsford is the birth mother of the victim, who was under the care and custody of her mother at the time of the incident, the complaint states.

The death of Aliayah led to an intensive search involving police and members of the community. The efforts were to no avail and the girl’s death has been a shadow over the Weston community for the past five years. The body still has not been found.

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