Bruised and tattered. Her brown hair unevenly clipped with what looks like less care than one would shear a sheep. Dark brown eyes that peer hauntingly and seem to whisper a plea for help.
These words describe one of the last known images of Aliayah Lunsford, who was only 3 when she was reported missing from her Lewis County home one year ago this week.
It is hard to imagine anyone not being moved by the graphic photo of little Aliayah that has circulated since her disappearance. One look and the picture elicits an eerie, chilling sense of foreboding.
The community and - as the case gains increased media attention - now the nation want to know what happened. Unfortunately, answers have been anything but forthcoming.
Aliayah neither has been found nor has there been an arrest in connection with her disappearance. What has been reported is she last was seen in her Weston-area home around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 24, 2011. Even those "facts" are disputed by some.
At the time Aliayah vanished, the young girl still was a toddler. Weighing a mere 35 pounds and standing only 3 feet in height, it is claimed Aliayah was wearing a pair of Dora the Explorer pajamas the morning of her disappearance. Again, the vivid imagery of this description tugs at one's heartstrings.
It is hard to imagine what Aliayah experienced up to that point in her short life or what she may have endured since she went missing.
There have been a lot of rumors, speculation and innuendo surrounding what happened to Aliayah. Theories have abounded in the world of social media, but we won't repeat them here.
Despite this flood of commentary, law enforcement officials appear to have little concrete leads with which to work. They seem to be no closer to solving this mystery than they were in the days immediately after she was reported lost.
The fact is someone somewhere must know something. At least one person - and maybe more - knows Aliayah's fate.
Her face has kept many in this community awake at night. Her plight is long from forgotten. It can only be hoped that Aliayah's image haunts the guilty as much as it has the hundreds of volunteers who have worked to look for her.
May thoughts of Aliayah permeate every waking moment until the individual or individuals responsible for her disappearance are compelled to come forward - either to help bring Aliayah home or provide closure to this tragic story.
Until the truth is known, we doubt anyone involved with this case will be able to rest in peace.
If you have information about Aliayah, contact 1-800-THE-LOST. As a community, let's work together to bring this child home, one way or another. Aliayah deserves that and so much more.