Nevaeh May Have Been Buried Alive

Autopsy Results Indicate Monroe Girl Had Dirt In Her Lungs

DETROIT - The family of Monroe murder victim Nevaeh Buchanan is disputing reports that the girl's mother, Jennifer, has vanished.

"She (Jennifer Buchanan) continues to cooperate real good with police," Sherry Buchanan said during an interview with Local 4 News Wednesday afternoon.

Sherry Buchanan, Nevaeh's grandmother, said Jennifer is anxious to find whoever is responsible for the 5-year-old girl's death. "She don't hide from them (police) or anything like that," Sherry Buchanan said. "She's always available for the police."

According to Sherry Buchanan, detectives were back at the Monroe apartment complex Wednesday to gather more evidence and update the family.

Preliminary autopsy results done Nevaeh Buchanan show she was asphyxiated and may have been buried alive.

"One detective did come to work where I was at because they didn't want me to hear (the autopsy results) from the customers," Sherry Buchanan said. "I was more concerned about my sister. She has a value, so I told my boss I wanted to leave for about a half an hour to go comfort her."

Nevaeh Buchanan disappeared in May, triggering a massive community search. Her body was discovered 10 days later in early June, encased in cement and dumped along the River Raisin.

"I am still in an emotional shock that she was taken. Hearing that she was buried alive makes the crime even more heinous," said Nevaeh Buchanan's cousin, Shawn Lawson. "The thoughts that were running through Nevaeh's head as she was being suffocated is unimaginable."

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's office said dirt was found in the girl's lungs, meaning she was either held down to the ground or buried alive.

"They're waiting on preliminary results to maybe see if she was sexually molested or not," Lawson said.

Lawson said waiting for answers is hard. But he said he believes investigators are doing everything they can.

Investigators said early examinations did not identify a cause of death because no outward signs of trauma were found on the girl's body. There were carpet fibers found under the girl's finger nails. Neighbors said investigators have taken carpet samples from different apartments in an attempt to find out where Buchanan might have been.

Authorities said they plan to search the Monroe apartment complex where Nevaeh Buchanan lived again, but some relatives question how much the information will help.

"There were a lot of fibers on her body and (probably) match to the fibers that the police found," said Buchanan's great aunt, Diane Lawson. "Nevaeh, she laid on the carpet a lot in the house."

Investigators said they plan to question a woman who has ties to George Kennedy and Roy Smith. Both Kennedy and Smith are convicted sex offenders and have been named people of interest in the case because they had contact with Nevaeh's mother.

Sherry Buchanan said while they wait for answers from police, the family still struggles to cope with their loss. "I still hurt. There's many a night before I go to sleep at night that I look over at her pictures and I tell her good night."

Lawson added, "We're hurting. We'll just have to take one step at a time. "

There have been no arrests in the case.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 734-243-7070.

Stay with and Local 4 News for updates to this developing story.

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