CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 News is asking questions about why it took so long for the Cuyahoga County Lank Bank to demolish the home on Fuller Ave. where 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze was tortured and murdered.
She was abducted by Christopher Whitaker and taken to the abandoned house in January 2017. He was convicted of her brutal murder, but the house where he killed the young teenage girl still remains standing, a fact that’s frustrated and upset her family.
The Land Bank announced last week that it will tear down the house this Friday. However, Damon DeFreeze, Alianna’s father, says he’s still angry it took so long.
We went to Kim Kimlin of the Lank Bank to see what was behind the delay.
“We do have to go through this series of steps with every single house. Unfortunately, we can’t take ownership of a house and demolish it the next day,” said Kimlin.
She continued, “We’re really required by law to take it through all of these steps to protect the health and safety of the community, the neighbors, and the workers.”
So what was the barrier to ensure that safety? Asbestos, according to Kimlin. The house was full of it.
It had to be manually removed, piece by piece, before the house could come down. That’s because of the danger it could put the entire neighborhood in, should the house be demolished with asbestos intact.
“That would release asbestos fibers and that would actually be very dangerous for the surrounding neighbors and for the demolition crew. It’s illegal to knock a house down that has asbestos in it. Especially a house that has this much asbestos in it. It’s very critical that we remove it in this particular case,” said Kimlin.
It took awhile to complete the job, but now it’s done. That includes the removal of siding around the house that was also coated with asbestos.
Kimlin told Cleveland 19 News she hopes seeing this house come down will be of help to the family.
“I hope it can give the family the closure that they deserve,” said Kimlin.
“They have been through a very difficult time, and we’re all looking forward to getting the house down for them.”