Man charged in 5-year-old Detroit girl's 2011 murder

Mariha Smith found murdered inside burned Detroit home not far from where she lived

By Hank Winchester - Reporter

DETROIT - Darnell H. Cheatham faces murder charges for the death of 5-year-old Mariha Smith.

Cheatham did not say much Monday before the magistrate. It was key witness interviews and key evidence that helped investigators charge the man they believe is responsible for the little's girls murder.

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Mariha went missing from her mother's Detroit home in 2011. Her family desperately searched for clues but they couldn't track down the girl.

Then a tipster called in a report of a house fire not far from Mariha's mother's home. Inside the burned home the young girl's remains were found.

On Monday, more than two years later, there is some justice. Cheatham was Mariha's aunt's boyfriend. He allegedly was in the home the night the girl went missing.

Cheatham also faces a mutilation of a body charge. He is expected to be back in court in November.

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