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Neighbors raised concerns about 5-year-old murdered in Topeka before her death, say no action was taken

<i></i><br/>Neighbors raised concerns about 5-year-old Zoey Felix who was murdered in Topeka before her death
Lawrence, Nakia

Neighbors raised concerns about 5-year-old Zoey Felix who was murdered in Topeka before her death

By Angie Ricono

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    TOPEKA, Kansas (KCTV) — Neighbors of Zoey Felix are sad and angry tonight. They say they reported concerns of neglect for years. They contacted police and Child Protective Services about the child, but nothing was ever done.

Then on Monday, the five-year-old was found in a field near a homeless camp. Investigators say the little girl was raped and murdered.

“I’m trying not to cry,” said Shaniqua Bradley. “I’ve honestly been sick. It’s disgusting.”

On Wednesday, people left flowers and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial in the field.

Investigators say Zoey had previously lived in a house not far from the camp. Neighbors say they tried to help, but little Zoey struggled. Bradley said she gave Zoey food and let her get water from her house.

“Zoey has been on her own the entire time,” said another neighbor, Sharon Williams.

She wondered about Zoey’s parents.

“I reported it,” said Williams. “I’m sure we all have reported it several times, but nothing was ever done that I’m aware of.”

Topeka police had been to the girl’s house several times. The most recent police welfare check was in early September. There was no power in the house.

In their report, police wrote, “Officers met with the child who was in good spirits and apparent health. The child was left in the care of their parent, per the custodial agreement. Officers then left the scene.”

Neighbors describe more volatility, and then Zoey disappears. It’s believed that only Zoey’s mother still lives in the house the family once shared. On Wednesday, KCTV could hear two dogs barking inside the home. We left a note for Zoey’s mother but never heard back.

“Everyone was asking, ‘Where’s Zoey?’” said Williams.

It appears that most recently Zoey was living in a tent in the nearby homeless camp.

Inside the tent, KCTV5′s Investigative team found a stuffed animal, a backpack and pink hairbrush. The tent is just steps away from where Zoey was found.

Neighbors say the father lived with Zoey and others in the tent community. They also say the suspect, Mickel Cherry, used to live in the house with the family. KCTV5 was unable to connect with the father.

Cherry is in jail, booked for murder in the first degree and rape.

A family who dropped off flowers at the makeshift memorial told us they had seen Cherry in the area. They say he appeared to be Zoey’s babysitter when she played in the parking lot.

“This could have been prevented,” said one in the group.

The same concern has been raised in other high-profile cases.

Adrian Jones was seven years old in 2015 when he was tortured, starved, and killed. His body was fed to pigs. His DCF file included two thousand pages.

Family members also reported concerns about Olivia Jansen 18 days before her death in 2020. She died from a brain bleed; her body was covered in bruises.

KCTV5 Investigates is pushing for DCF records in Zoey Felix’s case. The state has seven days to share what was reported to them before she died because of a new state law passed after the death of Adrian Jones.

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