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Parents of missing North Las Vegas girl, 3, facing murder charges

The parents of a missing 3-year-old girl have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with her disappearance nearly seven months ago, North Las Vegas police said Friday night.

Police were made aware of 3-year-old Zaela Walker’s disappearance on Aug. 25, when officers were called to a home on the 4600 block of Mission Cantina Avenue, near North Fifth Street and Lone Mountain Road.

After no “substantive information” about Zaela’s whereabouts in almost seven months, police arrested her parents on suspicion of murder on Friday, the North Las Vegas Police Department said.

Zaela’s mother, 27-year-old Lakeia Walker, was arrested on Friday. The girl’s father, 27-year-old Ricky Beasley, was already in jail on related charges and was re-booked on one count of murder, police said.

Beasley was arrested in December in connection with Zaela’s disappearance, and was charged with first-degree kidnapping and child abuse or neglect, as well as traffic-related charges.

The girl’s maternal grandmother, Carla Richardson, had called police on Aug. 25 to file a missing persons report, she told the Review-Journal in November.

Richardson said she hadn’t seen her granddaughter for nearly two weeks when she filed the report. During that time, Walker repeatedly told her that Beasley had taken Zaela to California to visit her paternal grandfather, Richardson said.

Police had entered the family’s names into a national database of missing persons, but received no information until the Texas Department of Public Safety in Houston contacted the department in November, North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt has said.

Zaela’s parents were pulled over in Houston for a traffic stop on Nov. 17, and Zaela wasn’t with them. After learning the family was missing, police detained and questioned the couple, who then became uncooperative, police said.

The two claimed they had no knowledge of Zaela’s whereabouts, and Beasley was arrested on an unrelated stolen-vehicle charge, Leavitt said.

North Las Vegas police first announced Zaela was missing in a release sent Nov. 30. A day later, the department announced that Beasley had been jailed on the kidnapping and child abuse charges after the couple was interviewed.

The couple was detained and interviewed in December after they were seen at a local casino near Civic Center Drive and Cheyenne Avenue, the department said. After Beasley was jailed, Walker was released and was cooperating with investigators, police said.

“After seven months of investigation, numerous media releases, interviews, and search warrants, there has been no substantive information regarding Zaela or her whereabouts,” Friday’s release said.

Detectives confirmed that neither Walker’s nor Beasley’s family members have had custody of Zaela, and that Walker and Beasley never reached out to anyone about Zaela’s status or condition, police said.

Beasley and Walker were both booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Friday. Further information about their arrests was not immediately available.

Police asked anyone with information on this case to contact the department at 702-633-9111, or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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