'Alianna Alert' supporters plead their case to Ohio lawmakers

Christopher Whitaker (Source: Ohio AG)
Christopher Whitaker (Source: Ohio AG)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Ohio Senator Sandra Williams and other supporters are in Columbus Wednesday helping convince senators to pass Senate Bill 82.

Senate Bill 82 would require schools to call parents within one hour of the start of the school day, if their child has been marked absent. The purpose of the Alianna Alert is to take precautionary measures to ensure that every child is safe, specifically those students who are not transported by the school systems.

Alianna's mother, Donesha Cooper, addressed lawmakers Wednesday.

"How many kids have to suffer as my daughter did? How many parents have to go through what I went through? How many parents have to wait 10 hours," she said.

Alianna DeFreeze was last seen on Jan. 26 around 6:30 a.m. boarding a RTA bus to go to school. DeFreeze's mother contacted police after being notified by the school that her daughter was not in attendance that day around 4:15 p.m.

On Sunday, Jan. 29, officers were conducting sweeps near East 93rd Street and Kinsman Road in an effort to locate DeFreeze and found her body in an abandoned home on Fuller Avenue. An autopsy found that DeFreeze died of blunt force trauma and stab wounds.

Christopher Whitaker, a 44-year-old convicted sex offender is accused of murdering the14-year-old. He was arrested Feb. 2  and has since been indicted on four counts of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count each of rape, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.

Whitaker, who could face the death penalty if convicted.

Currently, Ohio law is silent on school districts contacting parents when their child is absent.

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