Death of 17-month-old Zyia Turner leaves family reeling

Zyia Turner
Death of 17-month-old Zyia Turner leaves family reeling
30 June 2012
Detroit Free Press
By Megha Satyanarayana and Eric D. Lawrence

Emmanuel Turner was at Belle Isle Friday afternoon when he got word that his daughter, 17-month-old Zyia Turner, was missing from their home in Detroit.

“I came straight home. I walked around looking,” Turner, 25, said Saturday from the house on the 18800 block of Brinker. “I just can’t stop thinking about my baby being gone.”

The toddler’s body was found Saturday in a closet in the home, Emmanuel Turner said. A police cadaver dog from the Southfield Police Department located her Saturday morning, according to a news release from the Detroit Police Department.

The cause of death has not been released.

Emmanuel Turner said his brother was watching Zyia and several other children Friday when he left the room to go to his bedroom.

When he returned, Zyia was gone, the uncle told police.

Bridget Elam, the girl’s grandmother, said she had gone shopping for the 4th of July when her phone rang at 3:46 p.m. It was her son, Emmanuel Turner’s brother, asking if she knew where Zyia was.

They called police soon after, and made flyers to distribute with pictures of the missing girl.

“What do you mean you can’t find her,” Elam said she recalled saying.

“The last I saw her, she was sitting on the dining room floor eating cereal. That’s when everything went to a panic.”

Zyia’s autopsy has been completed, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office Saturday, but the results are pending the toxicology screen, which could take six to eight weeks.

The Detroit police news release did not indicate why it took so many hours after the girl initially was reported missing to locate her body inside the house. Police did not return calls for comment.

“This is an ongoing investigation and individuals are being questioned by the Detroit Police Department’s Homicide Investigators. No additional information is (being) released at this time,” the release said.

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said her office had not received a warrant request and had no additional information from police.

Turner said he was hoping that the cadaver dog would come up empty and, since, has had little to eat or sleep. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Zyia’s mother’s family. Zyia’s mother could not be immediately reached for comment.

“All this brings to my family is a sadness that will be here a long time,” Emmanuel Turner said.

Zyia also leaves behind a 2-year-old brother, Emmanuel Turner Jr. and a 6-year-old brother.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (313) 596-2260.

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