Family of Alianna DeFreeze files lawsuit against CMSD, city of Cleveland and her killer

Lawsuit also names the owner of the abandoned home where the teen’s body was found

Family of Alianna DeFreeze files lawsuit against CMSD, city of Cleveland and her killer
Alianna DeFreeze

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The attorneys for the parents of Alianna DeFreeze filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday.

DeFreeze was 14 when she was kidnapped on the way to E Prep Village Prep Woodland Hills School on Jan. 26, 2017.

Christopher Whitaker was convicted of kidnapping DeFreeze and taking her to an abandoned home on Fuller Avenue in Cleveland, where he raped and tortured her, before killing her.

From the lawsuit:

Because of Defendants School System’s failure to notify Ms. Cooper and/or Mr. DeFreeze of Alianna’s absence, the search trail for her went cold and her lifeless body was found in an abandoned house three (3) days after her abduction.

In January of 2019, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed HB66 into law.

Known as the “Alianna Alert Bill", this requires school districts to contact parents within two hours of the start of the school day, if the student is absent without prior notification.

The law takes effect April 4, 2019.

Christopher Whitaker was sentenced to death for the murder of Alianna DeFreeze, 14.
Christopher Whitaker was sentenced to death for the murder of Alianna DeFreeze, 14.

DeFreeze’s body was found several days later.

In March of 2018, Whitaker was sentenced to death.

City crews demolished the home on Fuller Avenue this past December.

The lawsuit names the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, E Prep Village Prep Woodland Hills, Whitaker, the city of Cleveland and Lavontay McKenzie, the owner of the home on Fuller Avenue.

According to the lawsuit, the school system knew DeFreeze did not show up for school that day, but never contacted the family.

Her mom contacted the school around 4 pm, after DeFreeze didn’t return home.

As a result of the delay, the search for DeFreeze did not begin until that evening, about 10 hours after she was abducted.

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