Almost five years later, community still searching for answers in disappearance of Roanoke baby

‘I’m making sure that her case does not go cold.’

ROANOKE, Va. – Three-month-old Arieanna Day went missing from her Roanoke home nearly five years ago. To this day, the community is still searching for answers.

Mallory Thornton first learned about the disappearance of Arieanna Day on social media.

“I started following her case, keeping up with it. And then it turned into me advocating for her,” said Thornton. “I’m making sure that her case does not go cold.”

Since then, the North Carolina mom of three has made it her mission to find out what happened.

“There’s so much speculation going on. A lot of truths that’s not being told,” said Thornton.

Arieanna was last seen on September 11, 2018. Her mother, Jessica Day, reported her missing to police that night.

Arieanna’s father, Andrew Terry, told police he buried her body in a shallow grave in Montgomery County after he picked Arieanna up from Day’s house bruised and barely alive.

But prosecutors dropped the charge against Terry in November of 2020 after a mistrial.

[READ MORE: Charge dropped against Blacksburg man charged with hiding body of his 3-month-old daughter]

To this day, Arieanna’s body has never been found.

”The ball was dropped on her. And if that’s the case, Roanoke Police Department needs to be held accountable,” said Thornton.

Tired of waiting, Thornton started a GoFundMe and raised more than $6,000 to hire a private investigator in February.

She also contracted an artist to create a picture of what Arieanna might look like if she is still alive today.

“I kind of believe that she’s deceased, but it’s a small piece in my heart that believes that she’s out there somewhere,” said Thornton.

On Wednesday, 10 News reached out to Roanoke Police for an update on the case. The department released this statement:

“It’s still an active investigation and we, sadly, aren’t able to share more details at this time. One day we hope to be able to hold those responsible for her disappearance accountable for their actions, and we appreciate the community’s help and support as we work towards that goal.”

This Saturday, March 25, Thornton is organizing a candlelight vigil at Melrose Park in Roanoke at 5:30 p.m. to honor Arieanna and other cold case victims to show they’re not forgotten.

“Even if it takes another five years, I’m going to make sure that she gets the justice that she deserves,” said Thornton.

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