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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Search for Nevaeh uncovers child's body near River Raisin

Search for Nevaeh uncovers child's body near River Raisin

Tanveer Ali and Paul Egan
The Detroit News

Monroe -- Monroe County Sheriff's Department investigators on Thursday found a child's body west of Monroe that may be the body of the missing 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan. Police cordoned off an area near the River Raisin around Dixon Road in the area of Ida-Maybee and Neiman roads. Evidence experts were preparing late Thursday to examine a body that searchers discovered that had clothing similar to what Nevaeh was wearing when she disappeared from her Monroe home on May 24, a person familiar with the investigation said.

Sheriff's department and FBI officials would not confirm they had found the child's body.

No positive identification of the body had been made by early Thursday evening. Nevaeh's uncle, Michael Buchanan, told The Detroit News: "The police just informed us, 'If you hear something from us again, it'll be positive,' (meaning there's a body)." If the body is the missing child, it will mark a tragic end to the search in an investigation that has focused, in part, on friends of the girl's mother who have criminal records for sexual offenses.

Nobody has been charged in the case.

Earlier Thursday, a 64-year-old man, who a district judge said has been cleared as a person of interest in the girl's disappearance, said he was held by interrogators for 12 hours, answering questions such as "How do you think they did it?" James Easter said he made a mistake by answering that question outright, claiming that if he was the one who had abducted Nevaeh on May 24, he would have "took my vehicle behind the nail salon nearby and called to her with a Kit Kat." "When you're an innocent man, they keep telling you this and that," Easter said. "All I could keep telling them is, 'I didn't do it.' "

Easter was arrested over the weekend on unrelated arson charges, and he was released on $250 bail after his arraignment Monday. District Court Judge Jack Vitale said the county prosecutor and county sheriff had cleared Easter from Nevaeh's case, but the Monroe County Sheriff's Office says they continue to look at every possible scenario and wouldn't comment on any potential people of interest.

Monroe County Sheriff's Maj. Dan Motylinski said the department would not comment on any claims made by Easter. Easter said he learned of Nevaeh's disappearance when he was called by a girlfriend who lives at the Charlotte Arms Apartments, where the girl had disappeared while playing alone in the parking lot.

His girlfriend said she needed a ride to the store, saying the apartment complex was abuzz over the missing girl, he said. "I had a hard time thinking in my head," Easter said of the questioning. He told authorities he had been at Kmart that night. He said investigators tried to pin him down, acting like Nevaeh was at the store with her mother that day. "They kept telling me, 'You followed her out of Kmart,' " Easter said.

Easter said investigators took DVDs, personal photos and other possessions, leaving his home a mess Friday. Authorities returned Sunday, digging up his backyard. Easter is one of three people of interest made public in Nevaeh's case. George Kennedy and Roy Smith, both sex offenders who knew Nevaeh's mother, are being held on possible parole violations.

Investigators are offering a $20,000 reward for information that could lead to finding Nevaeh.

Anyone with tips is asked to call (734) 243-7070. In an interview with the Toledo Blade on Wednesday from the Monroe County Jail, Kennedy also said he didn't take Nevaeh and began searching for her after learning of her disappearance. Kennedy told the Blade that blood police found in his motel room came from cutting himself shaving and from his girlfriend after she got a tattoo. Human blood found on a multitool, he said, came from a fishing accident. The sheriff's office has said none of the blood is Nevaeh's.

Meanwhile, the task force also is searching for two minivans, one green box-style and the other silver, that were parked at the Hollywood Elementary School when Nevaeh disappeared. The silver minivan was likely driven by a mother who was with her two small children.

Detroit News staff writers Mark Hicks and Mike Wilkinson contributed. (313) 222-2300

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  • At Thursday, June 04, 2009 9:17:00 PM, Blogger From Whispers to Roars Admin said…

    The body is Nevaeh :(

    Nevaeh's body found by river

    Updated at 9 p.m.

    A body found near the River Raisin is that of 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan, who disappeared from her Monroe home May 24, the Monroe Evening News has reported.


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