Aunt's boyfriend charged murder, torture and arson in 2011 murder of Mariah Smith

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged the boyfriend of the aunt of 5-year-old Mariah Smith with the 2011 murder of the young child.

Smith was reported missing on July 24, 2011. DNA was later used to identify her body after it was found burned in an abandoned home in the 2900 block of Waverly in Detroit.

The scene is about a mile from the Burlingame home where Mariah was last seen.

Smith was reported missing by her mother, Konesha, a few hours after the fire was reported in the Waverly home.

Mariah Smith's aunt had been with her boyfriend, Darnell Cheatham, that morning at the Burlingame home and Mariah was last seen sleeping in the front room of that home at around 3:30 am on the day she disappeared.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's office is accusing Cheatham of leaving the Burlingame home and then sexually assaulting and murdering Mariah at the Waverly home, before setting the mattress on fire.

Cheatham has been charged with First Degree Premeditated Murder, Felony Murder, Arson- Dwelling House, Torture, Child Abuse and Disinterment and Mutilation of a Dead Body.

He is expected to be arraigned in 36th District Court.

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