Five-year-old Shemaeah was last seen at her apartment on February 10, 1989 in Yuma, Arizona. She lived in the apartment with her mother, Valerie Gunnell, her 9-month-old baby sister, LaCreasha and Valerie's boyfriend, Alvie Copeland Kiles.
Alvie moved into the Gunnell apartment a month ago (four months after his release from prison after serving 4 years for aggravated assault). He also had long standing problems with alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.
Alvie was seen driving Valerie's car on the day Shemaeah disappeared by several individuals. That afternoon, Alvie told a neighbor that he killed Valerie and her children. He said that he killed Valerie in an argument over stealing her food stamps to buy cocaine and killed her children because they began crying & screaming after witnessing Valerie being murdered.
Alvie led his neighbor to the Gunnell apartment and showed her Valerie's dead body, which was found wrapped in a blanket in the hallway. Valerie was beaten to death with a tire iron which was found in the apartment. There were indications of a struggle and blood all over the house along with two large pools of blood in Shemaeah & LaCreasha's bedrooms. The girls were missing from the apartment.
Alvie said that he put the girls' bodies in the Colorado River and confessed to his mother & a family friend that he killed the children because "they could talk." A week after the murders, LaCreasha's body was found in a canal in Mexico, beaten to death. Shemaeah's remains have never been found, but her blood was found on a mattress in the apartment.
Alvie was convicted of murdering Valerie, Shemaeah and LaCreasha & sentenced to death. He is currently waiting execution on death row and is appealing his sentence.
Foul play is suggested in Shemaeah's case based on the circumstances and even though her body hasn't been found, her case is still classified as an endangered missing person.