Dismembered remains found in Ohio identified, family seeking justice

Posted at 11:36 AM, April 5, 2024

CINCINNATI (Scripps News Cincinnati) — For months, Makaila Luckey’s family didn’t even realize the 25-year-old was missing — let alone murdered, dismembered and left in North Fairmount. Now that they know the gruesome truth, they’re pleading with the community to help them bring Luckey’s killer to justice.

Makaila Luckey selfie

FILE – Makaila Luckey (Luckey family via Scripps News Cincinnati)

They spoke publicly for the first time Thursday since the Hamilton County Coroner revealed Luckey’s identity. Cincinnati leaders, detectives and victim advocates stood by their side.

RELATED | Coroner: Dismembered head linked to woman’s torso found in November

“It’s been real hard. I mean, because nobody expected her to be dead, and the way they did her — that’s crazy, real crazy,” Luckey’s sister Thailynn said. “So it’s been real hard, especially for my little sister. And then we already lost our mom.”

Thailynn was joined by other family members who also shared their shock and grief with Scripps News Cincinnati

“It shouldn’t have happened to her,” Luckey’s aunt Verdie said. “It shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

Verdie explained Luckey was always close with her family, but when she began to struggle with mental health issues, Luckey then started to distance herself.

“That’s when it all started — her leaving the house and not coming home for days or weeks,” she said. “Me and her used to text a lot, because of me working nights and her walking away a lot, but when she had a phone we texted a lot. I always texted her asking how she was doing, where she was at.”

Luckey lived in Cincinnati, and she was known to frequent the West End. She was last seen getting on a Metro bus in Lincoln Heights heading downtown. The coroner said that was likely days before she was killed, either at the end of October or within the first few days of November.

Her torso was discovered on Nov. 5, and two months later, as Cincinnati police and FBI agents were conducting a search of the surrounding area, officials discovered more remains. Her head was found in a steep wooded area blocks away from where the torso was.

tire and tree in grassy area

Investigators confirmed that a head found in the woods is linked to a torso found previously. (Scripps News Cincinnati)

Verdie said the days were difficult when she would lose touch with Luckey, but Verdie knew she’d always come back. Now knowing she’ll never see her niece again, the days ahead are even harder.

“You know people pass away, but having this be a horrific thing to happen to someone,” she said. “So we hope they find the person because he’s still out there. He could do it again. ​We’ve just been praying to God for closure and then to find out who did this.”

Crime Stoppers is now offering an undisclosed reward for information helping to solve the case, including any tips about the area Luckey frequented, any person she may have associated with, or any life patterns observed in the days leading up to her disappearance and murder.

You can contact the Cincinnati Police Department or call Crime Stoppers Anonymously at 1-888-352-3040.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Cincinnati, an E.W. Scripps Company.