Mya Lyons, the 9-year-old African-American girl who disappeared from a Chicago home and whose body was later found in a dark alley, will have her tragic case documented on TV One this Monday night. Justice By Any Means will follow the story of Ericka Barnes, a mother who fought for justice in the death of her little girl after she was killed while on a summer visit to her father’s home. What started out as a hunt for a crazed-killer lurking the alleys, circled back to the father’s home, where the killer maybe closer than investigators had imagined. Be on the look out for commentary from Mya Lyons’ mother, Ericka Barnes, police investigators, and crime experts.
A Summer Night Gone Horribly Wrong
Mya Lyons was a bright-eyed 9-year-old girl who looked forward to summers in her hometown of Addison, Illinois. It was a time to enjoy big fun with her friends and play all day, until dusk. In most black households, smaller children know to have themselves back at home before the “street lights come on.” But on a night in July, 2008, Mya spent the evening playing at a friends home late into the night, until she received a call to come home. She wasn’t at her mother’s home in Addison. She was at her father’s Auburn-Gresham home in Chicago for the summer.
The Chicago Tribune retraces Mya Lyons’ steps that fateful night.
“A neighbor, Nakia Akins, 38, testified that Mya and her older brother had been over playing until the kids got a phone call on her landline and rushed home at about 11 p.m. At about 11:50 p.m., the brother knocked on her door and said Mya was missing.”
Family members inside Richard Lyons’ home said they last saw Mya going to bed for the night. Some time later, her father seemed frantic with worry after discovering that Mya was no longer in her bed. As he made his way outside into the darkness, he searched a dark alley, then later screamed that he had found his daughter’s body. Investigators were summoned to the scene in the 8400 block of South Gilbert Court, where they saw the body of Mya Lyons. She was quickly transported to a local area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her autopsy found that she had died of multiple stab wounds. She had also been beaten and strangled.
What Monster Did This To Mya?
Mya Lyons’ distraught mother was in agony after getting a call to come to the hospital, only to find out upon her arrival that Mya was gone. There were so many questions. The claim was made that Mya had somehow left the bedroom, opened the backdoor, and wandered out to the alley. At the time she disappeared, residents say that creepy alley was dense with wild weeds. The kids didn’t like playing back there.
Neighbors didn’t buy it. There was no way Mya would leave the safety of her home to go walking down a dark alley at night. In fact, no little girl or boy would do such a thing, and Ericka Barnes and the neighbors knew it. The close-knit community rallied around Ericka to support her in any way they could. They arranged vigils, prayer services, passed out fliers, and took their voices to the media with some utilization of social media, too. In the meantime, the girl’s father pretended to do his part. He spoke freely with police. He cooperated with the investigation, and held media conferences, stating that no matter what happened, he was happy to have had Mya for nine years.
As for Ericka Barnes, she made it clear from day one that she wouldn’t rest until she brought the killer to justice. The case went cold for three years before police finally arrested Mya Lyons’ father, Richard. Authorities say inconsistent statements and blood spatter evidence found in Richard Lyons’ van was the key to unlocking the mystery. At trial, prosecutors say that after the little girl returned home, Richard Lyons killed Mya, then stabbed her to make it look like she had been attacked by a deranged stranger, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“Lyons slammed his daughter into a metal post underneath the back stairs, leaving an imprint from a lockbox attached to the post on the back of her arm. She was strangled and beaten. He immediately jumped into self-preservation (mode). He decided he was going to make it look like some crazed killer killed his daughter. He grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and stabbed her 13 times in the stomach, chest and neck in his conversion van. Lyons then drove her body up the block and dumped it near a vacant, overgrown lot.”
Richard Lyons was found guilty and sentenced to 60 years in an Illinois prison. Until this day, no one really knows why he killed her. Most will agree that it was done to cover up something that he had done. According to ABC-7, Richard Lyons is accused of the sexual molestation of a teenage boy. He will also stand trial in that case. Tune in for Justice By Any Means this Monday night at 10/9 p.m. central on TV One.
Take a look at the alley that neighbors call spooky. This is where Mya Lyons was found.