As of Monday, the DPD continued to investigate the Sunday morning death of a child and the apparent kidnapping of 5-year-old Mariha Trenice Smith as separate cases. Yet the autopsy of the burned child and forensic findings suggest that the two incidents will soon merge into a single homicide investigation.
The apparent abduction of Mariha is backed by physical and testimonial evidence. There had been a party at the house on Burlingame where mother Konesha was staying with a sister; six adults and five children had been present, Mariha was last seen at about 3:30 AM Sunday morning,
Konesha had become intoxicated and passed out on a living room couch, not far from fer sleeping daughter. Family members insist that an intruder had broken in through a living room window after removing a screen and a box fan. They claim the girl was slolen from her bed at about 3:30 AM Sunday morning. Mariha was discovered missing at about 10:30.
The police were called and an Amber Alert issued.
Meanwhile, a fire was called in at an abandoned duplex on Wavery only a mile distant from the Burlingame property, The blaze was noticed by a witness, and the house had been torched at about 8:00 AM. On a single bed in the living room, a young child’s body was discovered. The body was autopsied yesterday and the findings were distressing, So were forensic discoveries.
Evidence currently linking the two cases are:
- The proximity in time and space, .The Amber Alert from Burlingame was issued only hours before the body on Waverly was discovered, The house on Burlingame is only about a mile distant from the torched, vacant duplex where the body was found.
- Autopsy findings. An autopsy performed on the Waverly St body confirmed that it was a female 5-7 years old. Mariha Smith is five.
- Size and weight. DFD Lt Patrick McNulty discovered that the burned body was the same size and weight as those of Mariha Smith.
- Forensic finding. Investigators found a piece of cloth intact between the scorched body and the mattress on which she lay. It is a fragment of a black skirt with pink flowers, the same pattern of the skirt in which Mariha was last seen.
Konesha Smith will clear up any mystery by giving a DNA sample, so in a matter of days we will know whether the dead child is Mariha.
If so, the DPD can focus on her kidnapping. The autopsy reveals that someone dispatched a young girl with a singular cruelty. First, the girl was killed by asphxiation (probably by smothering). Then the perp doused her body with gasoline and set it on fire, hoping to obfuscate the homicide.
The police investigation into the kidnapping and homicide is ongoing.
Konesha spent most of Monday being interviewed by the DPD. She took a polygraph examination which, according to an investigator, she passed.