DETROIT (WXYZ) — "Living the life that she was living, anything could happen," said Sonia Smith about her daughter, 28-year-old Alyssa Itchue whose body was found Wednesday by a utility worker on Detroit's east side.
The worker spotted one of Alyssa's hands protruding out of the ground. She had been buried in a shallow grave behind a vacant house on Hildale Street, not far from East Seven Mile Road and Van Dyke, an area she was known to frequent.
"The detective called me and they said, you know, the body type is the same, the hair is the same, you know. I pretty much knew it was her before they fingerprinted her," Sonia said.
Sonia spoke to 7 Action News Monday and said for several years her daughter had been battling an addiction to heroin.
Alyssa had been in a drug rehab facility in Waterford and she was released in September.
Sonia said her daughter was supposed to be getting assistance with housing because she was homeless, but that her daughter did not tell the facility that she didn't have stable housing.
"She didn't tell them she was homeless. So they just discharged her because she said she was going to live with me. So they didn't call and verify or anything, so they just let her go," Sonia said.
Then in November, Sonia got word from one of her daughter's friends that there were rumors going around that she had been murdered.
"November 13th, her ex-boyfriend had started telling a friend a few things, saying that she had been killed by a drug dealer in Detroit."
Then came a phone call from police, telling Sonia that the body found on January 4 appeared to be her missing daughter.
"I just felt in my heart that it was her," Sonia said.
Detroit Police said they are waiting for the medical examiner to determine the manner and cause of death, but Sonia believes her daughter was the victim of foul play.
"I want the people that harmed her, you know, I truly believe that somebody hurt her. I mean, who would have buried her? If it was just an overdose, she wouldn't have been buried," she said. "In my heart, I feel that somebody hurt her."
If anyone has information on what happened to Alyssa Itchue, they're urged to call Detroit Police at (313)596-2260.
Sonia said she always told her daughter that she loves her and that she wanted a better life for her.
"I did everything I could to try to get her back home and I'd help her out when I could. And then, you know, after a while, I realized I was enabling her, so I had to find different ways to help her," said Alyssa, adding that instead of sending her daughter money, she'd go shopping for her or have groceries sent to wherever she was staying at the time.
A family friend has started a GoFundMe to help pay for Alyssa's burial expenses.