Carl Alston remembers the sweet little voice that called him “Papa.”
He heard it each time he went to visit his daughter, Candra Alston, and her 3-year-old daughter, Malaysia Boykin.
“Here he come, Mama. Here come Papa,” Malaysia would say as Alston approached their home, he said.
There was no little voice to greet Alston when he arrived at his daughter’s Brook Pines apartment on Jan. 9, 2011. Just a slightly open front door and a grisly scene inside.
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Alston said he found Malaysia on a bloody mattress and his 25-year-old daughter on the kitchen floor. He immediately went back outside and knocked on a neighbor’s door.
“It was bad,” Alston, 62, said of the scene inside the apartment. “I went to my car. The lady called the police.”
Candra Alston and her daughter were killed in what authorities described as an “extraordinarily violent manner.” Police have not revealed how they died, saying it helps them determine which of the tips they receive are legitimate – and it will help when they confront the killer.
“Some cases can go for 20 years, and investigators make the decision to never put certain pieces of information out,” said Kevin Reese, an investigator with the Columbia Police Department who is working the case. “It may hinder their investigation; it may hinder a successful trial against this person.”
A murder weapon was not recovered from the scene, he said. Neighbors at the apartment complex didn’t report seeing or hearing anything suspicious before the bodies were found.
Since the slayings, police have interviewed more than 200 people as far away as California and taken more than 150 DNA swabs, Reese said. “There’s nothing to definitely say we have enough to make an arrest of any one particular person or group of persons,” Reese said.
Candra Alston and Malaysia, who was called “La La” by her family, had not been sexually assaulted, and police said drugs didn’t appear to be involved.
The mother had a large network of friends on Facebook and MySpace, and police learned she had advertised herself online as an escort.
There were no signs of forced entry at the apartment, and Reese said there didn’t appear to be “very much of a struggle, if there was one.”
“It tells me Candra was definitely familiar with this person, and that this was a person she trusted,” he said of the lack of forced entry. “She trusted this person around her and she trusted this person in her house.”
The only items not accounted for in the home were a Gucci purse, a computer and some children’s clothing.
Most of the discussion and media attention surrounding the case appears to focus on a male suspect, but Reese said detectives haven’t ruled out the possibility that a woman carried out the killings.
With no new leads, tips or evidence, the killings of Candra Alston and her daughter have been turned over to the cold case division.
“We need somebody to be honest with us,” Reese said, adding that the killer may have confided in someone about the deaths. “No matter how minute they think this information is, how significant it might be, they still should come forward.”
Anyone fearful of having his or her name attached to the information can submit tips anonymously.
“We can work it out to where their names never even have to come up,” Reese said. “We just need to be pointed in the right direction.”
Another investigator on the case keeps a picture of Candra Alston and Malaysia on the bulletin board above his desk, Reese said.
“All I’ve got to do is look over to my right and I see what he sees,” he said. “For us, it serves as a reminder that this case hasn’t been solved.”
Carl Alston expressed frustration that no one is talking to detectives or providing any tips, yet he remains confident something will break. “Somebody’s going to tell,” he said.
Alston is reminded of the killings each time he sees a news report about a murder, especially one involving a child. “I want to find out who did it,” he said. “They can’t hide. They can’t run.”
Anyone with information about the killings of Candra Alston and Malaysia Boykin should call CrimeStoppers at (888) CRIME-SC.