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Disappearance of 3-year-old W. Va. girl considered a crime, FBI says

A sign at a local church asks for help in locating 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford in Weston, W.Va., Wednesday Sept. 28, 2011.
AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Paul Fallon
A sign at a local church seeks help in locating 3-year-old Aliayah Lunsford in Weston, W.Va., Wednesday Sept. 28, 2011.
AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Paul Fallon

(CBS/WOWK/AP) WESTON, W. Va. - The disappearance of 3-year-old West Virginia girl Aliayah Lunsford is now considered a crime.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Killeen told media outlets Monday that investigators no longer believe Aliayah just walked away from her Bendale home Sept 24. Lena Lunsford told police her daughter was in bed that morning at 6:30, but there's been no sign of the child since.

Killeen said she's likely been the victim of a homicide or abduction, and that authorities have identified a few people of interest.

More than 1,000 volunteers helped hunt for the girl last week, but as of Monday only professionals remained involved in the search. The target area is a 5-mile radius around the Lunsford home.

Defense Attorney Tom Dyer offered his services for free last week for anyone who knew anything about Aliayah's disappearance. He said he did get a tip from someone he called a credible source, who said someone who is in or has a relationship with the family is responsible for Aliayah's disappearance, reports CBS affiliate WOWK.

Aliayah's family was moved to an undisclosed location last week and the home was roped off with crime scene tape.

Aliayah is about 3 feet tall and 35 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last wearing purple pajama bottoms and a pink sweatshirt.

No Amber Alert was issued after she vanished because the case didn't meet the requirements of that program. Amber Alerts require a vehicle description or license plate number, and investigators didn't have either.

Lena Lunsford has four other children, from 9 months to 11 years old, and is eight months pregnant with twins.


Editor's Note: The correct spelling of the missing girl's first name is Aliayah, despite the photo above).