The former husband of a West Virginia woman on trial for the death of her 3-year-old daughter, Aliayah Lunsford, testified in court on Wednesday that he used with synthetic drugs with the little girl’s mom on the night the child disappeared.
WVNews reports that Ralph Keith Lunsford Jr. took the stand in a Lewis County Circuit Court and testified that his ex-wife, Lena Marie Lunsford-Conaway, took bath salts with him on the night authorities think little Aliyah Lunsford was killed. Conaway is currently on trial for the child’s death. According to prosecutors, Aliyah likely passed away the same night her parents “partied” with the synthetic drug.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, bath salts are “synthetic cathinones” which are commonly used to get high via snorting, smoking, swallowing or injection. Side effects can include paranoia, hallucinations, panic attacks, anger, aggressive behavior, and suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts.
Lunsford Jr. testified that on September 23, 2011, he drove to a shop in Clarksburg with Lunsford-Conaway, and her kids to buy bath salts. He said they also stopped by a convenience store where he bought a 24-ounce can of Budweiser beer. According to Lunsford Jr., he drank the beer and went to sleep; he claimed the children were fine prior to him falling asleep.
The following day, he found out his daughter was missing after he returned home late morning from work. He indicated Conaway asked him if he had seen Aliayah but didn’t explain much else to him before driving away in the family van.
— Stacy Moniot (@StacyMoniotWBOY) February 25, 2014
Further, Lunsford Jr. added that Lunsford-Conaway didn’t treat her children equally and Aliayah often received harsher punishment than the others.
“She expected more out of the child, I thought, than the rest. For instance, at mealtime, the other children were allowed to get up and leave their plates. Aliayah wasn’t.”
Prosecutors previously indicated that Lunsford-Conaway may have used the van to drop Aliayah off in a remote area. Lunsford testified that the van, which looked the clean the night before Aliayah disappeared, was dirty the following morning, as if someone took it along rural dirt roads.
Authorities allege Lunsford-Conaway hit Aliayah in the head with a handheld object on September 23, 2011, but failed to get the girl medical help after badly injuring her, according to court documents. Conaway then reportedly hid the child’s body, took measures to conceal evidence, and threatened others who knew about the crime . She’s now facing charges of murder, death of a child by child abuse, child abuse, and concealment of a deceased body.
Aliayah’s body still has not been found.
Check back with CrimeOnline as we continue to provide updates.
[Feature Photo: Lena Marie Lunsford Conaway, Aliyah Lunsford/Handout]