They're not allowed to question anyone, so the group maps out a grid of the area and searches for clues. Bowen never did anything like that in her life before the girl went missing. The group searches for anything that looks out of the ordinary, including disturbed earth.
"We're looking for answers anywhere I can find them," Bowen said. "I do believe someone out there knows what happened."
Bowen has theories on what happened to Aliayah.
"The FBI ruled out abduction," she said. "They ruled out -- she didn't walk out of there by herself. That didn't happen. What did happen, I don't know.
"I don't want to point any fingers but I know there was two adults in that house that was responsible for Aliayah and the other children in that house. They failed her."
Lena Lunsford called 911 at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24 to report the girl missing. She told the operator Aliayah had been sick and that she'd checked on her earlier that morning and went back to bed. Hours later the child was gone.
"A 3-year-old child does not disappear into thin air," Bowen said. "They don't just walk out of the house. A sick 3-year-old especially does not leave the house."
Aliayah is about 3 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds. She was last seen wearing Dora the Explorer pajama bottoms, a pink princess sweatshirt and no shoes. Her ears are pierced and she was missing four front teeth at the time of her disappearance.
Lunsford, who was pregnant with twins at the time, was arrested shortly after the girl's disappearance on federal welfare fraud charges, specifically that she was selling access to her food stamp card.
She was caught with synthetic drugs while awaiting trial. Her husband at the time, Ralph Lunsford, told the court he bought and used synthetic drugs. He is not Aliayah's father.
Lunsford spent eight months in a federal prison in Baltimore on the fraud charges and was released earlier this year. Divorced from her husband, she has since lost her parental rights to the six remaining children, including the twins she gave birth to last year. The children are in state custody.
She is living in Wheeling and working at a pizzeria on supervised release since she left the prison. She violated the terms of her release three times over the summer, causing a federal judge to extend the term of her supervision.
Neither Lena nor Ralph Lunsford have helped with the search, Bowen said. Though she never met Aliayah, Bowen said she took up the search because "nobody else" in the girl's immediate family had done so. She works closely with Lena's half-sister, Tina Smith.
Joann Evans, Lena's mother and Bowen's sister, was unable to help because of her health, Bowen said. Evans later died and Bowen said she made a promise to her on her deathbed that she would never stop searching for Aliayah.
"I will not stop," Bowen said. "If it takes 10 years, I'll be here.
"We're not going to forget her."
A vigil will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the old courthouse in Weston. She said the family is asking churches in the area to ring their bells at noon for Aliayah and others who are missing.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to Aliayah's recovery or the identification, arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her disappearance. Those with information can contact their local FBI office or local law enforcement office.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.