TOPEKA (KSNT) – The death of a 5-year-old Topeka girl has many in the community mourning after her loss.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” Aimee Slusser one of the influencers in Zoey’s life said. “She just wanted love, she just wanted to feel loved, she wanted to feel accepted. She was the sweetest, bubbly child that I ever came across and she just loved everyone.”
Slusser said she spent lots of time around Zoey, but she began seeing red flags in the home.
“No utilities were on over there,” Slusser said. “I knew the food was really low, they didn’t have much of that. I knew she wasn’t getting baths.”
She says she contacted the Department for Children and Families (DCF) multiple times, and got more involved in Zoey’s life.
“I took Zoey on several occasions,” Slusser said. “I’ve bought her clothing. Me and my mom took her on some outings. We purchased her some toys. Tried to just show her she was loved and that she was cared for and that there’s a better life out there than what she was being given.”
Slusser said when Zoey’s mother broke up with her boyfriend, she kicked him, Zoey and her older sister out of the house. This left them to live in the homeless camp where Zoey eventually died.
“If I would’ve known that that occurred, I would have most definitely been at the police station, DCF, I would have came over here,” Slusser said. “I had no clue until after the incident occurred.”
She says Mickel Cherry, who was arrested on first-degree rape and murder charges, was a friend of the family living in the camp with them.