Kansas Man Arrested for Alleged Rape and Murder of 5-Year-Old Girl

A 25-year-old man, Mickel Wayne Cherry, has been arrested in Topeka, Kansas, in relation to the alleged sexual assault and murder of a 5-year-old girl, Zoey Felix. Court documents reveal that Cherry has been charged with first-degree murder and rape of a minor under 14.

The heartbreaking event took place on Monday when local law enforcement responded to an emergency call at a nearby gas station. Firefighters were already present, attempting to resuscitate the young child. Despite their best efforts, Zoey was declared dead at the scene. A subsequent medical examination indicated signs of sexual assault.

Cherry, who was without a permanent residence at the time of his arrest, had previously lived at the same address as Zoey, according to Timothy Phelps, deputy director of the Shawnee County Department of Corrections. Reports from neighbors indicate that Zoey and her father had been residing in a forested area close to the gas station with Cherry, a short distance from Zoey’s mother’s home.

Before the tragic incident, concerns about Zoey’s living conditions had been voiced by neighbors, who noted that her home was without electricity. The Topeka police confirmed that they had been called to the home three times in September, once for a welfare check and twice for domestic disturbances. Despite Zoey seeming to be in “good spirits,” a report was filed with child welfare and property officials, stated City spokeswoman Gretchen Spiker.

The horrific crime has left the Topeka community in shock, especially as neighbors assert they had informed child protection officials about the unstable situation at Zoey’s home. A spontaneous memorial consisting of flowers, balloons, and toys has been erected near the site of the incident.

Cherry is currently detained on a $2 million bond, with his next court date set for December 21. Shawnee County District Attorney Michael Kagey has suggested that the charges against Cherry could potentially result in the death penalty.