True Crime Cover Story: A trail gone cold

In the first installment of True Crime Cover Story, we look at the case of McCluer North High School Sophomore Maleaha J. Talton. She was shot in the head, wrapped in a rug and left on Ted Jones Trail, where she was found on Nov. 6, 2016.

ST. LOUIS – True Crime Cover Story is a partnership between 5 On Your Side and CrimeStoppers to try to get answers in unsolved cases.

Tonight’s True Crime Cover Story is about McCluer North High School Sophomore Maleaha J. Talton.

Her family describes her as a very family-oriented girl. She loved music and doing hair in her spare time. She was a kid at heart who was known for sucking her fingers and making people feel welcome. She was very outspoken and well known.

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Sadly, her kindness didn’t keep someone from killing her. She was 16-years-old when she was shot in the head, wrapped in a rug and left on the Ted Jones Trail. Her body was found on Nov. 4, 2016.

Tirria Blanks says this is a photo of the rug that Maleaha's body was wrapped in when she was found on the Ted Jones Trail.

Her adoptive mother, Tirria Blanks, says she thinks about Maleaha all the time.

“What I will miss about her most is the way she called me and said 'Maw,'" she said. "And that finger sucking, texting when they were in the same house but different rooms; just to aggravate me.”

Maleaha’s biological mother Amanda Blanks told 5 On Your Side that she wants someone to speak up and she wants justice for her little girl. She wants to know what happened to her daughter.

Tirria said Maleaha was 13-year-old when she started dating a 19-year-old man named Evander Thompson. Tirria said she filed at least 4 restraining orders against Thompson. She wanted him charged with statuary rape.

Tirria said she couldn't stop the tumultuous relationship between her young daughter and this grown man. She saved pictures of Maleaha with black eyes, to prove she was being beaten. Her family believes their violent relationship came to a violent end with Evander Thompson shooting her in a house on Elkan Avenue in Ferguson, right next to the Trail.

Ferguson police confirmed a murder took place at the house on Elkan Drive three months before Maleaha’s death. They say Jamal Watkin, 15, was shot and killed. A brother and sister of Maleaha believe people who visit that home likely know what happened to Maleaha. They believe it took more than one person to bring her body to the trail.

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Ferguson Police Commander Frank McCall said Evander Thompson has been identified as a person of interest almost immediately after Maleaha’s body was found back in November of 2016. McCall said it’s important he comes forward.

“It is imperative that we speak with him at this point and time. He is the only person that we're looking for," McCall said.

He said they received a tip that Evander was recently seen at a bus stop in downtown St. Louis.

St. Louis Regional Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $5000 for information that leads to a felony arrest in this case. You can make an anonymous tip by calling 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).

If you would like more information on this case through Crimestoppers you can click on this link.

Cover Story series

Series 2: The unsolved murder of a St. Louis cheerleader, 18 years later