Details of Disappearance
Authorities believe Kyeimah's mother, Samara Laverne Spann, also known as Samara Bainhart and/or Terri Spann, murdered her at their home on December 31, 2004 or January 1, 2005. They lived in the 10400 block of 10th Avenue southwest in Seattle, Washington. A photo of Samara is posted with this case summary.
Neighbors reported hearing Samara cursing and screaming outside her home for nearly an hour that night. They called the police after she fired a gunshot from her back porch at approximately 1:00 a.m. Authorities went to the residence and spoke to Samara, but left without making any arrests.
On January 11, 2005, Samara called the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSH) and asked for Kyeimah's name to be taken off her welfare grant, saying the child had gone to stay with her grandmother in Missouri. Samara, her infant son and her fourteen-year-old daughter moved to California in mid-February.
Shortly thereafter, the DSH received a tip that Samara had drowned Kyeimah. On February 22, DSH officials contacted the police in Washington and asked them to check on Kyeimah's welfare. Authorities in Washington couldn't locate the girl. In March, Samara's father reported Kyeimah missing, saying he'd received calls from different people saying Samara had drowned her.
Samara was arrested in Sacramento, California in March 2005 on an unrelated charge of abusing her older daughter. When confronted by police about Kyeimah, she said Kyeimah was with her biological father. Kyeimah's father, however, didn't have her and said he didn't know where she was.
Samara's children had been removed from her custody by child protection authorities three times on suspicion of neglect or abuse, and each time they were returned to her. Complaints had been made in three states about possible abuse in Samara's home, but the family moved frequently and social workers had a hard time keeping track of them.
Samara was charged with Kyeimah's murder in June 2005. According to court documents, she drowned the her daughter in the bathtub because she thought Kyeimah was a "demon child." Samara left the body in the house for two days, then decapitated it, wrapped it in a blanket and a heavy chain, put it in a laundry bin and threw it off a bridge into the Elochoman River.
In May 2007, she was pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in her daughter's death and sentenced to 23 years in prison. She apologized at sentencing and said that at the time, she'd been unaware of the wrongfulness of her actions.
In spite of searches by law enforcement, Kyeimah's body has never been found.