Thursday, June 11, 2009

Heaven Spelled Backwards

by Donna Pendergast

Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards) Buchanan was only 5-years-old when she disappeared, three days after her graduation from pre-school. Allegedly last seen riding her scooter in the parking lot of the Charlotte Arms Apartments in Monroe, Michigan, Nevaeh was reported to have been last seen by a young neighbor around 6:30 pm on May 24th. Whether or not that was the last time that she was seen by family or friends remains to be seen.

Into Thin Air

Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan, has had her ups and downs in life. Arrested on a charge of First Degree Home Invasion she was found guilty of breaking into homes to support a drug habit in 2006. Nevaeh's grandmother, Sherry Buchanan, was granted custody of Nevaeh while her daughter was incarcerated. After Jennifer was released from jail she lived with her mother and her daughter in the run down apartment at Charlotte Arms

Jennifer Buchanan has told police that she spent the afternoon hours watching television at the apartment along with Nevaeh. She told police that Nevaeh left the apartment around 6:30 pm to go a friend's apartment in the same building. According to Jennifer's statement to police, a few minutes after Nevaeh left the apartment, another child who lived in the building knocked on the door to tell her than Nevaeh was out riding her scooter in the street which Jennifer interpreted as being the parking lot of the apartment building. When Jennifer got down to the parking lot, she was unable to find Nevaeh but found her scooter abandoned by the side of the building.

Jennifer claims to have searched the surrounding area for 45 minutes finding no trace of Nevaeh. She eventually informed the apartment manager that Nevaeh was missing. After an unsuccessful canvass of the apartment building, the police were called around 8:30 pm.

A Disturbing Revelation

A task force from the
Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the Michigan State Police , and the FBI was formed to search for Nevaeh and an Amber Alert was issued. As the police investigation progressed, it was learned that Jennifer Buchanan had befriended and had exposed her daughter to to convicted sex offenders, George Kennedy 39 y/o and Roy Smith 48 y/o. George Kennedy was convicted of raping a 15-year-old girl behind a gas station in 2002. Roy Smith, a friend of Kennedy's, was convicted in the sexual assault of a woman who claimed that he raped her twice in his car in 1991. Jennifer Buchanan has stated that she knew about Kennedy's past, but that she had confronted him about it and he had been "honest with her about it". She also told police that she knew that Smith attended classes with Kennedy so she figured that he had been convicted of the same sort of offense. Buchanan has also stated in a television interview that Kennedy had become a sort of "father figure" to Nevaeh. Both Kennedy and Smith, whose parole conditions forbid contact with children or anyone who has children, are now both in jail on possible parole violations.

A search warrant issued early on in the investigation stated that a friend of Nevaeh's claimed that he had seen a man stab Nevaeh in the woods near the apartment building. The boy's mother has subsequently discounted that information, stating that the boy saw nothing. The blood from a knife recovered from Kennedy's hotel room was tested and determined not to match Nevaeh's
DNA. The police have not released further information about that blood, including whether or not the blood was human blood.

A Horrifying Discovery

On June 4, a father and son who were out fishing stumbled across a ghastly discovery. They noticed what appeared to be quick drying cement over a disturbed area of ground down a steep embankment a few feet away from the
River Raisin in Monroe County. After kicking away a piece of cement they observed human flesh and contacted police authorities. On Tuesday, the body was confirmed as being young Nevaeh's. She had been buried in a shallow grave with a quick drying cement poured on top of her small body.

An initial investigation by the medical examiner has determined that there is no evidence of outward trauma to Nevaeh's body, discounting the earlier information in the search warrant that she was stabbed. Authorities have indicated that it may be several weeks before the cause of death can be determined or ruled on.

So Many Unanswered Questions

While focusing on Kennedy and Smith, the police investigation has apparently not ruled out Nevaeh's mother as a person of interest either. She has been questioned multiple times, and last week gave permission for the police to search her apartment. Jennifer Buchanan has publicly stated that she has no involvement in the girl's disappearance, and walked off the Nancy Grace show the other night while under intense grilling from the host.

While many questions remain unanswered, one thing remains clear, heaven spelled backwards spells Hell.

Statements made in this post are my own and are not intended to reflect the views, opinion or position of the Michigan Attorney General or the Michigan Department of Attorney General.


FleaStiff said...

How old was the child who reported the girl was playing in the street (parking lot)?

Leah said...

What I don't understand is why the grandmother and uncle, who also knew that Kennedy was a sex offender, didn't report it to the police or the probation department. They could have done it anonymously and the freak would have been picked up on a parole violation. Damn these lazy, ignorant adults who knowingly allow children to be exposed to predators.

I don't blame Jenniffer for walking off the Nancy Grace program. I am amazed that she can even get people and legal analysts to appear on her show given how rude she is interrupting all the time and acting like everyone is a pure idiot except her. I love how her tone and demeanor changes whenever a caller pays her a compliment. She turns into a church mouse and whispers "Oh, thank you, but I don't deserve that," She sure as hell doesn't.

Sorry for the rant. Great post Donna!

Cheryl said...

The whole idea of Jennifer Buchanan allowing a sex offender to become a father figure for her daughter is appalling! He was "honest with her?" Give me a break. She's either extremely naive or just to plan lazy to keep an eye on her daughter. 5yr olds should not be running around outside unsupervised. Especially in an apt complex. What in the world was that woman thinking?

As for Leahs comments about Nancy Grace, I totally agree with you. She's horrible and seems to thrive on other peoples misery. Unfortunately thats what some people like to see. Me? I won't evn watch her program.

Soobs said...

Kennedy's parole officer was aware that he was hanging around children, and tried to get his parole revoked, however he was thwarted by his supervisor. When my state (Michigan) starts to take child molesters seriously, only then will we start to see a drop in child abductions.

This "mother" deserves every bit of public scorn that has come, and will come, her way.

FleaStiff said...

I wonder what sort of man would be attracted to the mother? Did she have all that many men to choose from? Were these boyfriends helping with rent or something?

LadySheila said...

Forgive me for being shocked, but what kind of mother lets a 5-year-old go do anything by themselves? This is so common, and I expect we will see many, many more instances like these. There are so many "strangers" in the world, and we all have been taught to not talk to strangers,(you know, this is preventable), that we need strong penalties not only against the perpetrators but the parents for not watching them. That means TWO eyeballs on them at all times. To illustrate, two women (nurses at that) here in Texas got off last year for "accidentally" forgetting their little ones for close to 12 hours in a hot car until they died. My point: Please make it a crime to not watch your children. God save these people!

LadySheila said...

And another question...what kind of criminal justice department would let two of these women get off with a story of "I forgot to take them to the daycare"? Really, I want someone's expert opinion on this. So frustrating for all these children. Stiff penalties means we all won't even think twice when it comes to being careless. You know why you don't see theft as a crime in certain middle-eastern countries? They cut off your hand. That's right. It works.