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Body Matches Description Of Missing Mariha Smith

DETROIT, July 29 (UPI) — Detroit investigators say they’re awaiting DNA test results to determine whether a young girl’s body is that of a 5-year-old missing since Sunday.

The family of Mariha Trenice Smith has been searching her west side neighborhood, posting fliers, asking about her whereabouts and yelling her name, the Detroit News reported.

The body, found in a burned vacant house about a mile from where Mariha went missing between 3 a.m. and noon Sunday, matched her description, Wayne County spokesman Dennis Niemiec said. The girl had been suffocated, her skull was crushed and she was set on fire, an autopsy showed.

Mariha was staying at the home of her aunt, Quanita Smith, when a kidnapper apparently opened a window screen, moved a fan, climbed over Smith, who was asleep on a couch from being drunk, and took Mariha, the News reported.

Family members said the girl’s mother, Konesha Smith, passed a lie detector test, but Quanita did not. Quanita was being held on outstanding traffic violations, police said.

Police were interviewing Quanita Smith’s boyfriend, relatives said.

Police, who said they were seeking a person of interest in the arson, released a videotape of a man they say bought 41 cents worth of gasoline at a nearby station about 10 minutes before the fire started.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

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