The family of a Cleveland girl who was tortured, raped and murdered by a sex offender on her way to school five years ago have received a million dollar settlement as part of a lawsuit against his school and the city, according to a report.
Alianna DeFreeze’s parents filed a wrongful death complaint in 2019, alleging that her school had not informed them of her absence from class in January 2017, FOX 8 reported in Cleveland.
The 14-year-old girl’s body was found days after her death in an abandoned house. Her mother said she did not learn that her daughter was absent from school until 4 p.m. and that by that time the family had wasted precious hours that could have been spent searching for her.
“You know, you don’t know when this will hit you,” Alianna’s father Damon DeFreeze told WOIO-TV in Cleveland last year of her grief. “I drive, it hits me. I just cry for no reason. You know, when I was working, it hits you at work. You know, it’s just, it’s a never-ending thing, but I’m still on my feet.”
Alianna killer Christopher Whitaker appealed his death sentence to the Ohio Supreme Court last year.
Damon DeFreeze said he was still in favor of a life sentence for his daughter’s killer because “death is too certain, too quick. You deserve to suffer and to sit there and think to what you did, “according to WOIO.
“Death is too certain, too quick. You deserve to suffer and sit there and think about what you’ve done.”
The lawsuit names the City of Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, DeFreeze’s E Prep and Village Prep Woodland Hills Schools, and Friends of Breakthrough Schools as well as Whitaker and the man who owned the abandoned house where she was killed.
LITTLE FRIEND OF A MISSING CALIFORNIAN WOMAN PRESENTLY ABUSIVE CHARGED WITH DISAPPEARANCE AND SUSPECTED MURDER
The lawsuit alleged that the school “had totally and without a doubt breached an essential obligation owed to every parent to report a missing child – no texts, phone calls, emails or any other form. communication, “according to People.
“The defendants tried to cover up their fatal inaction by claiming that they had sent [Alianna’s mother] a message… informing her of Alianna’s absence, but the system has malfunctioned, ”the lawsuit said.
Defendants in the trial denied any legal responsibility for his death, FOX 8 reported.
A former CEO of Breakthrough Charter Schools told FOX 8 in a statement: “All parties have come to a mutually agreed settlement. We hope this can help bring some level of closure to everyone involved. Alianna’s family and friends. “
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The teenager’s murder sparked a new law in 2019 called Alianna’s Alert that requires schools across the state to notify parents within two hours of a child’s absence, according to FOX 8.