Vigil held to remember murdered little girl

Last month, 3-year-old Mayouna Smith was laid to rest after she was beaten to death. But her killer remains at-large.

Friends and family gathered Monday night outside the home where the little girl lost her life: her mother’s apartment on Allenhurst Road in Amherst. They are fighting to make sure Mayouna is not forgotten.

Rev. Charles Walker of the Mount Hope Community Church said, “And even though it may seem a wind of negativity, we know that there’s a silver lining at the end of this cloud.”

The cause of Mayouna’s death was ruled blunt force trauma and the autopsy also found evidence of previous physical and sexual abuse.

Amherst Police believe the child’s mother and her boyfriend were both present when the toddler died, but no one has been arrested so far. Mayouna’s natural father came to the vigil but didn’t want to speak. His mother spoke for him.

Mayouna’s grandmother, Annette Allen, said, “We don’t want the person that did this to her to get away with it, so we really want justice and we want them to stop dragging their feet because we know what’s going on and we’re not getting any answers.”

Erie County’s Child Protective Services denies having any previous reports of abuse to Mayouna, but could not confirm or deny whether there had been a previous complaint about neglect of the child.

Many child abuse cases are discovered in the hospital, so Erie County’s Social Services Commissioner announced a new agreement that will put a CPS worker in Women & Children’s Hospital 40 hours a week, and another CPS worker will split full-time duties between South Buffalo Mercy, and Sisters Hospitals.

Those three hospitals generated over a thousand allegations of abuse last year alone.

Commissioner Carol Dankert-Maurer said, “And when they make a report a CPS worker will be on site, they’ll be able to engage the family right away and engage the medical personnel to make sure we have a full understanding of the concerns and take the appropriate action. Instead of having four or five different workers travel to the hospital, having one person there who can start all of these conversations and start all of these investigations will actually be more efficient.”

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