Dad of missing Bennettsville girl learns lesson through experience

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – As day six of the search for missing Bennettsville girl Iyana Lowery continues, the missing 8-year-old’s father reveals his role in the young girl’s life.

Thursday afternoon Marlboro County deputies were back at the crime scene, a home on Craig Circle, where Iyana’s mother was found murdered. Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon says the investigation into the killing of Ella Lowery and search for Iyana continues, but wouldn’t offer any details into what new leads, if any, have been discovered over the past couple of days.

Iyana’s dad, Tyrone Thomas, has joined the search for his missing daughter. Thomas says he hopes his story will encourage all dads to spend and cherish time with their children. Thomas admits he hasn’t been the best dad, but News13 chose to interview him in an effort to give perspective on Iyana’s life.

“I know I wasn’t the best father with them but things are about to change,” promises Thomas. “A lot of stuff goes through your mind, but you have to try to take it one day at a time and be strong.”

Thomas explained for the past seven days he’s lost sleep wondering if Iyana is still alive. He says when he heard about Ella’s death and Iyana’s disappearance, he rushed to the crime scene to join the search.

“I have to be there for my son with all of the tragedy he went through,” justifies Thomas. “This is where I’m originally from, Shady Rest. I searched through here myself.”

Thomas claims his presence in the neighborhood will encourage people to speak up if they know something about his missing daughter.

“I know if anybody down here knows where she is, they will let me know because everyone knows me,” states Thomas.

The Shady Rest neighborhood is near the home of the suspect in custody for the murder of Ella Lowery. Dwayne Jermaine Bright is in jail for Ella Lowery’s death. Thomas says he knows of Bright and has nothing against him.

 

“You never know what goes through a person’s mind,” says Thomas. “A lot of people say he takes medicine and all that. But if he didn’t take his medicine you don’t know how he’ll respond.”

Thomas says he wants his missing 8-year-old daughter home safely but isn’t trying to impede on law enforcement’s investigation.

“I don’t want to step on no one’s toes because they are doing their job very well,” said Thomas. “Me, her grandma and everyone, we need her back because it’s hard.”

Iyana’s school staff is wearing rainbow ribbons every day.

A press release from Marlboro County Schools Public Relations Spokesperson Dr. Henry Cobb said:

“The [Bennettsville Primary School] faculty and staff are wearing rainbow ribbons made by one of our faculty members in honors of our sweet Iyana Lowery. We will be wearing them daily as we pray for her immediate and safe return.”

The rainbow ribbon represents the school logo ‘Where dreams begin’.