Homeless man charged with horrific murder of 5-year-old girl

TOPEKA, KS – A Kansas man, 25-year-old Mickel Wayne Cherry, is facing the harshest legal consequences for his alleged involvement in the sexual assault and murder of a 5-year-old girl. Cherry was arrested on Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder and rape of a minor under 14, according to jail records.

The Topeka Police Department responded to a distress call on Monday around 6 p.m. about a young girl, later identified as Zoey Felix, who was critically injured at a Dillons store on S.E. 29th Street in Topeka. Court documents reveal that emergency medical personnel from the Topeka Fire Department were already at the scene, attempting to save the child’s life before rushing her to a local hospital.

Despite their efforts, Zoey succumbed to her injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital. Authorities deemed her death suspicious and promptly initiated a homicide investigation. In a press release, the Topeka Police Department confirmed that Cherry was taken into custody and charged with Zoey’s murder. Although details surrounding Zoey’s death remain scarce, police have confirmed that Cherry and the victim were acquainted before her death.

Cherry was detained in the Shawnee County Jail early Tuesday morning and remains in custody with a bond set at $4 million. His next court appearance is scheduled to take place on December 21. According to sources close to the investigation, Cherry and Zoey were not related, but Zoey had recently been living in the same outdoor homeless camp as Cherry.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported that Zoey lived in a dilapidated house with her mother, a teenage sister, and an adult male, who was allegedly a convicted child molester. It remains unclear whether Cherry was the alleged child molester living with Zoey and her family. Community members told the newspaper that Zoey was often seen unsupervised in the neighborhood. Several neighbors reported contacting the Kansas Department for Children and Families to report neglect, but it is unclear how the department responded to these complaints.