LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — The City of Little Rock is determined to catch the person who murdered a mother and her two young children.
It is now offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mariah Cunningham, A’Layliah Fisher and Elijah Fisher's murderer.
“You know, sometimes it takes that, that money, that offer, that reward to get people, maybe, to come forward,” Officer Steve Moore, a spokesman for the Little Rock Police Department said, “where, without that offer, they wouldn’t come forward. And we’re going to do anything we can in this case to get that information and get those leads to our detectives to follow up on.”
The victims’ relatives had not heard about the increase in the reward until a reporter told them about it Wednesday evening. Wilma Davis-Albright, Cunningham’s great-aunt said she was pleased.
“Money makes people move,” she said, “and somebody knows what happened.”
Davis-Albright and her daughter, Derykka Miller, arrived recently from Atlanta to help plan the funeral for Cunningham and her children.
“We hoped that they would have had whoever this person is, this demon is, before we arrived to Little Rock,” Miller said.
Jones-Albright said this past week has been the worst her family has ever experienced. “We’ve just been completely wiped out,” she said. “I mean, I really just, literally, had to go to bed for most of the week, and was just dysfunctional.”
Miller said she and Cunningham were especially close. She said Cunningham was doing a good job raising A’Layliah, 5, and Elijah, 3.
“They’ll all be missed sorely,” Miller said. “Mariah loved to laugh, like many of us in the family. I can hear her giggle in my head, you know, constantly.
“It hasn’t really sunk in the way it will when we see them.”
Cunningham and her children were found dead on Dec. 5 inside her apartment in southwest Little Rock. LRPD has not announced if it knows when they were killed, but the family presumes that they were dead for at least a day before their bodies were discovered.
“For no neighbor to call 911, we have become so desensitized to violence,” Jones-Albright said.
Detectives have released little information about the case to the family or the public, to preserve their leads.
Moore would not say whether the large reward means detectives are close to the suspect or at a dead end. But he said that the city’s decision to go straight to $50,000 shows how seriously city leaders take this case.
“It’s senseless homicides,” he said. “All of them are. However, when you see a three- and a five-year-old and the mother all killed together like that…” he said before trailing off.
Sheba Cunningham, Mariah’s grandmother, was the one who found them in the apartment last week. She can clearly recall the gory details of the scene.
“The shock of seeing them, you know. I wish I would’ve held them, or something,” she said. “The shock of it was, you know, just horrifying.”
The shock has not worn off yet for Sheba Cunningham, Jones-Albright or Miller. But they believe the killer will be found sooner, rather than later, thanks to the increase in the reward.
"It will never make any sense, but it will give us some measure of comfort,” Jones-Albright said, “to know that they have someone, and that that same person, with that same mentality, is not out doing it again.”
Mariah Cunningham had another daughter, Cheyanne, who was not in the apartment when her mother and siblings were killed. Miller said one of her first stops after arriving in Little Rock was to see Cheyanne.
“We went by to pick up Mariah’s daughter, who is 8 — same age as my daughter, Sasha,” Miller said. “And she gave her the biggest hug. And, you know, just to see that smile put on her face, because of her cousin, that was a great feeling.”
Miller started a GoFundMe account to pay for the funeral expenses, which had raised nearly $4,500 as of Wednesday night.
The funeral for Cunningham and the two children will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 at First Baptist Church Highland Park, 3800 W. 18th Street in Little Rock.