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Amarah Banks, daughters found dead; arrest made

MILWAUKEE – A mother and two daughters who were the subjects of an Amber Alert were found dead Sunday afternoon, the victims of an apparent homicide.

Amarah J. Banks, 26; Zaniya R. Ivery, 5; and Camaria Banks, 4, were found in a garage, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at a news conference. 

Arzel J. Ivery, described as the 25-year-old boyfriend of Amarah Banks, was arrested in connection with the case and a felony aggravated battery charge was filed against him Saturday in Milwaukee County, according to online court records.

Ivery was in custody in Memphis, Tennessee, Morales said Sunday. He was being held in the Shelby County Jail on a fugitive from justice warrant and was scheduled to be arraigned Monday morning.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office was called to the scene Sunday and said autopsies were scheduled for Monday. 

Zaniya R. Ivery, 5, and Camaria Banks, 4, were found dead Sunday along with their mother, Amarah Banks.

Banks and her two daughters were last seen about 1 a.m. local time on Feb. 8. Family members were with Banks as she buried her infant son on Feb. 7, who died from health complications, WISN 12 News reported. 

The next day, Banks was reported missing by her family to the Milwaukee Police Department.

A week later, on Saturday around 2:30 a.m. local time, police in Memphis contacted Milwaukee police to tell them they had made contact with Ivery, who was Banks’ boyfriend. 

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, second from right, works with investigating officers on the scene where three bodies were found. The investigation seemed to center on an alley behind a building in the 4700 block of West Burleigh Street.

Around noon on Saturday police issued an Amber Alert for the mom and two daughters. Morales defended the fact the alert wasn’t issued until a week after they were first reported missing. 

“There is criteria that goes for an Amber Alert for us to issue that,” Morales said. “You have to understand that foul play was not an initial part of this investigation.”  

Police said after talking to Ivery they were directed to the garage where the bodies were found. Police did not say who owned the property the bodies were found in. 

Police close off the streets as they investigate three bodies found Sunday in the 4700 block of West Burleigh Street in Milwaukee.

Sophie Carson of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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