Lewis County Marks 2 Years Without Aliayah Lunsford - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Lewis County Marks 2 Years Without Aliayah Lunsford

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The Bendale United Methodist Church was quiet Tuesday morning but on September 24, 2011, it was bustling with activity, and would be the center of the search for Aliayah for months to come. Lewis County Deputy Reserve Officer Randall Bush was in Jane Lew when he got the call about Aliayah's disappearance. He said he hoped for the best as he began searching.

"Most little kids are not far away. I have kids of my own, but if they had been mine, I'd have been out there searching like everybody else, but I was in hopes that we would have found her that day, but unfortunately that didn't happen," Bush said.

Now, two years later, Aliayah's disappearance remains a mystery. Search crews combed the county, looking for any sign of where the little girl may have gone, but couldn't come up with an explanation. Even now, her family is left with more questions than answers.

"Why did it happen? Why hasn't somebody spoke up and said something? Even if it's a little thing they think is nothing, it could be something major that we need to find where she's at or what happened," said Aliayah's aunt Tina Smith.

On Tuesday, friends and family gathered at the Lewis County Courthouse to remember Aliayah with a vigil. Tina Smith said she's still holding out hope that Aliayah is alive, but said whatever the outcome, they just want to know exactly what happened to the little girl.

"We need to find her and probably put her to rest if she's no longer with us anymore. Our hope is she's still with us, and just to let her know that, Aliayah, we're not giving up," Smith said.

The reality that Aliayah may be gone for good is one that Smith has been forced to consider, but one she described simply: "Really, really hard."

County residents also took time to remember Aliayah this weekend.  You can find that story here.