DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Dozens turned out Tuesday night at a prayer vigil for a 7-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet inside her Ellenwood foster home. Friends and family of Mariasia Thomas are hoping a new $5,000 reward will lead to the gunman whose bullet took the little girl’s life.
Prayers were offered for her at a vigil in front of the Ellenwood home where the 7-year-old was gunned down inside a now bullet-riddled home on April 12. One of the rounds struck Mariasia in the head inside the home where she was a foster child.
“I really need to figure out why did this happen. Whoever did it, I need them to come to justice for it,” said Chanrica Boyd, the girl’s biological mother.
Boyd said watching her daughter suffer on life support for 11 days until she died was heartbreaking. She said she found inner peace when Thomas’ spirit spoke to her.
“Mariasia came to me, and she told me: 'Mama, it’ll be OK. Just be there for my sisters and brothers,' and that she loved me,” Boyd said.
She said she lost her children to DFCS back in May 2017 because of her housing and stability issues and is on a path to make things right.
Police are trying to find who shot into the home more than a dozen times when Mariasia and another child were the only ones at home. Investigators are hoping the new reward will draw more tips.
“I need for them to turn themselves in. I need some justice because I lost my grandbaby,” said Michelle Thomas, the girl’s grandmother.
As they released balloons, family and friends reflected on the spirited young girl who loved to dance and laugh, whose life was tragically cut short.
“They took her joy away from her. They took her joy away, and we are going to miss her,” said Thomas.
The woman who lives at the foster home did not attend the vigil.
Tom Rawlings, director of the Division of Family and Children’s Services, sent FOX 5 News a statement which reads:
“All of us at DFCS have committed our careers to saving children and assisting their families.
“When our efforts are marred by violent acts such as the one that cut Mariasia Thomas's life short, our hearts are broken-- for Mariasia's parents, her foster family, and all of our staff and providers who were involved in the mission to strengthen her life and that of her family.
“More than anything, we mourn the fact that Mariasia's life was cut short--her future never realized--because of a senseless act of violence.
“We are working closely with law enforcement, as we have in the last several days, in the hopes that those who committed this senseless crime are brought to justice.’”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS.