Mya Lyons’ life celebrated, murder unsolved

Around the same time hundreds of family members and friends celebrated the life of a 9-year-old who was stabbed to death, Chicago police released a “person of interest” who collected scrap metal in the Auburn-Gresham area.

Around the same time hundreds of family members and friends celebrated the life of a 9-year-old who was stabbed to death, Chicago police released a “person of interest” who collected scrap metal in the Auburn-Gresham area. The man, who was not charged, allegedly admitted to being in the alley where the girl was found. With heavy hearts, the parents and friends of Mya Lyons, most of whom wore pink, streamed into a Southwest Side church to get their last looks at the girl and say their goodbyes. Lyons was sexually assaulted, according to her family, and fatally stabbed in the neck and abdomen July 14. Her father, Richard, found her lying in an alley about a half block from his home in the 8400 block of South Gilbert Court. The alley was poorly lit and was overgrown with trees and brush. Mya had been visiting her father for the summer. Mya’s mother, Ericka Barnes, could barely make it down the aisle by herself to see her daughter who had a tiara on her head and was dressed in pink. She had pink flowers and a Barbie doll laying by her side inside of a white casket trimmed in pink. Barnes could be heard outside of the sanctuary as she walked into Monument of Faith church where the funeral was held, stomping her feet and screaming, “No! No! My baby! No!” as “Jesus Loves the Little Children” played in the background. With her watered eyes closed and head low, Barnes had to be held up as she made her way to the casket. As she looked at her daughter, she stroked Mya’s dress and flowers before being helped to her seat. Mya’s father, along with her two brothers and sister, also broke down when they reached the viewing area that was surrounded by stuffed animals, including a Tweety Bird, and handwritten signs professing their love for the girl and sorrow for her death. “Oh Lord! Mya! My baby!” the father shouted while looking at his daughter before nearly collapsing. Her crying brothers gripped their heads with their hands. During the service, without a dry eye in the church, a young girl around Mya’s age, Jocelyn Lomax, sang “Encourage Yourself” because sometimes you have to be encouraged, Lomax told mourners. Pastor Mark Henton told the family to not let the tragedy that stole their daughter’s life take theirs. “We come together in spite of something that seems to have snatched out hope. We need not allow the horrors of life to dictate to us our destiny because if the horrors of life dictate to us our destiny, then we are a people without hope,” Henton said. Tamika Thomas, whose 9-year-old son Trevon went to school with Mya, said her son was too distraught to attend the services. “He’s been having nightmares,” Thomas said after offering her condolences to the family. A family friend and former resident of the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, where Mya lived part-time with her father, set up the makeshift memorial in the alley where the girl was found. “Someone needs to step up and help find Mya’s killer. This is too sad, and no parent should have to go through this,” Sheila Bibbs said. As Lyons left Mya’s visitation on Friday, he urged all parents to take “Mya minutes” to look at their children and realize how special those moments are. No one is in custody and rewards totaling $6,500 have been offered for information leading to the arrest of Mya’s murderer.

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Photo by Worsom Robinson/Chicago Defender

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