Lewis County Girl Missing
Updated Tuesday, September 27, 2011; 07:18 AM
BENDALE -- UPDATE Monday Sept. 26 6:08 p.m.
It has been more than three days since anyone has seen Aliayah Lunsford.
She disappeared from her home in Bendale near Weston early Saturday morning.
Boat teams, canine units and foot crews have scoured woods, streets and water searching for any sign of Aliayah.
"Christmas Day, when she was going to open up her presents, she always opens up the biggest ones first and the smallest ones for last. She was really, really proud of what she got for Christmas. I just want her back home," Wendy Swiger, Aliayah's aunt, said.
Note that in identifying Christmas day, this is a specific past tense event with the use of past tense verb is appropriate. Note that "always opens" is present tense. It is only when a child is spoken of in general terms, such as characteristics, in the past tense, does it show belief or knowledge of death.
Her family says Aliayah would not wander off on her own, and family and acquaintances shared stories about a girl who loves cats and dogs, saying her smile could light up a room.
"She was a special little girl. She wouldn't go to no strangers. She was pretty close to the family, and we just want her home," Sherri Prunty, Aliayah's aunt, said.
Please note that she "was" a special little girl is not "she is a special little girl" using past tense verb to describe character. This is an indication that the aunt knows or believes that Aliyah is dead.
Please note that Aliyah is only 3 years old yet is described as "pretty close" to the family.
Dive teams, canines and volunteers canvassed the West Fork River around Aliayah's home.
On Monday, they expanded the search around Lewis County High School, still finding no trace of the three-year-old.
Jeff Whittington and Brittany McVay live across from the Lunsfords and have been out searching for Aliayah.
For the couple, Aliayah's disappearance hit close to home.
"It's hard on everybody. The community's pulled together, and we've done a lot. Myself, personally, I've been searching, I can't even count the hours I've been out there searching," Whittington said.
Note that "can't" means limitation. Given the description and the event, it is likely a limitation due to fatigue, both physical and emotional, on the part of the searcher.
McVay is praying that Aliayah is found.
"I went up and talked to her [Aliayah's mother] the day that I found out she was missing and gave her a hug and said a prayer for her and cried with her. I have a child the same age. I couldn't imagine losing him. Just to feel the heartache she's going through. My heart goes out to her family," McVay said.
Note the explanation of the word "personal" by this searcher: it is highly personal and the connection of having a child of the same age is driving the searcher. When she says "my heart goes out..." she is telling the truth.
The search will continue through Monday and will resume Tuesday morning.
A rest area for volunteers and law enforcement is located at the Bendale United Methodist Church next to the Armory.
Authorities ask that anyone with information call the Lewis County Emergency Dispatch at 304-269-8241.