KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Ashley Mack said she and Aniya were more than than just sisters. They were best friends. They grew up in Muskegon Heights and have always been close, even when she moved to Louisiana while Aniya remained in Michigan. Aniya was on a full-scholarship at Western Michigan University and worked at a local autism center for children. However, Aniya always made time to text her. That was until this week when Ashley said she hadn't heard from her in a few days. Thursday she learned why.
“It’s like I’m living in a dream I just can’t wake up from,” Ashley said in phone interview. “It’s like so crazy. I never thought I’d be burying my sister.”
The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said they found Aniya Mack’s body in a creek in Comstock Township on Thursday. Her family called the police at 1:30 that morning informing her that no one had seen or heard from her since Sunday.
“She wasn't answering her phone,” said Autumn Lambert, Aniya and Ashley’s youngest sister. “She wasn't communicating with [my mom and sister] like she normally does. it just wasn't like her.”
Police said around 3 a.m. that same day they made contact with the suspect, her boyfriend 25-year-old Donnovan Lewis in the 4000 block of West Michigan where Aniya Lived. Later that day he was arrested after he told them where her body was in an interview.
“My family is just trying to hold up,” Autumn said. “It’s really hard. Aniya was uplifting. She was just everything to our family. Just to see RIP statuses and just saying we miss you, it’s just hard.'”
Autumn said the family suspected that Lewis died due to domestic violence. It’s something Ashley pondered as well, especially when she read Aniya’s Facebook posts about her tires always being low and learned that Lewis went through her text messages. Ashley said Aniya would call her crying sometimes, not knowing what to do about the relationship.
“She got so secretive,” Ashley continued over the phone. “It’s crazy. I just know she was scared.”
Lewis posted on social media earlier this week saying “Sorry World!! My actions were not planned. I just couldnt hold my anger." Friday, he was arraigned in Kalamazoo and officially charged with murder. Aniya’s family now hopes others will learn from their tragedy.
“I just feel like anybody that’s in a relationship with a guy that’s getting beat, get out,” Ashley said. “You do not have to deal with that. We’re better than that ladies. Get out.”