A young woman from Detroit tragically found her mother lifeless and set on fire. Kaiya Smith, 19, knew something was off when she didn’t hear from her mom for a few hours.
Filled with worry, Kaiya went to check on her 48-year-old mom at her home on the city’s west side. What she found was an unimaginable horror: her mom was dead, lying unconscious with a burn mark on her leg. The cold touch and the pungent smell of lighter fluid confirmed her worst fears. She quickly called the police for help.
Later, an autopsy would reveal that her mother, Stacey Smith, had been strangled. It’s suspected that the fire on her leg was a cruel attempt to conceal the crime.
The investigation took a shocking turn when Stacey’s fiancé, who had recently proposed to her on Memorial Day, was arrested. Charges have not been filed yet.
This event has left a deep, traumatic imprint on Kaiya’s life. She thought the man her mother loved and was excited to marry could not harm her. During the two years he lived with them, there were arguments but no signs of physical violence, according to Kaiya.
Now, the college student finds herself shouldering the responsibility of caring for her 14-year-old brother who is struggling to cope with their mom’s brutal death.
In the midst of all the heartache, Kaiya is arranging a respectful send-off for her mom. She has initiated a fundraising campaign to cover funeral expenses and is seeking community support.