DETROIT, Minn., Aug. 6 (UPI) — Detroit police say they have a man into custody in the slaying of a 5-year-old girl.
The Detroit News reported Saturday a source said the unidentified man arrested Friday afternoon is believed to be the boyfriend of an aunt of the victim, Mariha Smith, 5.
“We have a person of interest that has been arrested based on preliminary findings by the homicide unit,” Detroit police Sgt. Eren Stephens said.
Police said one of Mariha’s aunts, Quanita Smith, who lived in the same house as the girl, and her boyfriend both failed a lie detector test in the days after Mariha disappeared.
The girl’s body was found burned in an abandoned Detroit home July 24. An autopsy revealed she died of asphyxiation before her body was set on fire.
Speaking at her funeral Friday, police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. lamented the premature death of a young child and bemoaned the state of society, the Detroit Press reported.
“What the hell is wrong with us?” Godbee asked. “When did we become pimps? When did we become gangsters? When did we stop loving our children?”
Detroit Councilwoman Brenda Jones told those gathered for the service the violence must end.
“This has got to stop. We have to take care of each other,” she said.
Mariha’s death was the 206th homicide in Detroit as of Aug. 1, compared with 179 through the same period a year ago.