Darnell Cheatham, 22, was arraigned on multiple counts in the death of 5-year-old Mariah Smith. (Detroit Police)
Detroit — A 22-year-old city man was arraigned Monday for the 2011 murder of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old niece. The girl’s body was found in a burned-out vacant home on Detroit’s west side.
Darnell H. Cheatham was charged by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday in the July 2011 death of Mariah Smith. He was arrested at his girlfriend’s residence Friday.
Cheatham has been charged with first-degree murder, felony murder, arson, torture, child abuse and disinterment and mutilation of a dead body. He was arraigned by video in 36th District Court. He was held without bail and sent to the Wayne County Jail. His preliminary examination is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Nov. 1.
Mariah’s charred body was found lying on top of a mattress inside a home in the 2900 block of Waverly.
The little girl had been last seen sleeping in the front room of her family’s home on Burlingame around 3:30 a.m. July 24 — a few miles from where her body was found.
Later that morning, Mariah was reported missing by her mom, Konesha Smith, 26. A few hours later a fire was reported in the Waverly Street home. Smith had been with Cheatham during the early morning hours of July 24.
“This very difficult case was solved due to the diligence and tenacity of Wayne County prosecutors and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office investigators. Much of the work was done on their own time to finally bring justice to little Mariah,” Worthy said in a release.