Police arrest man they say 'directly connected' to death of Cleveland teen

RAW: Police announce arrest of a murder suspect in death of Alianna DeFreeze, 14
Updated: Feb. 2, 2017 at 10:21 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - An arrest has been made in connection with the death of a Cleveland teen.

Christopher Whitaker, 44, was arrested Thursday in Mayfield Heights.

Alianna DeFreeze, 14, was found dead in an abandon home on Cleveland's east side earlier this week.

"We need to make sure (Whitaker) never walks our streets again," said Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams, adding Whitaker has a lengthy criminal history.

Williams said there are still pieces of the puzzle left to put together, but police are sure Whitaker was "directly connected" to the DeFreeze case.

Whitaker, of South Euclid, has been charged with aggravated murder in this case. This isn't the first time he's faced criminal charges. Whitaker was charged with sexual battery and felonious assault of a 45-year-old woman in 2005. He had been listed as a sex offender.

A family member of the victim says the family does not know Whitaker.

83 sex offenders live within mile of home missing 14-year-old was found dead

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner said earlier in the day Thursday that 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze died of "multiple injuries."

The teen was last seen on video surveillance Jan. 26 at 6:50 a.m. getting off an RTA bus at E. 93rd Street and Kinsman Avenue. Her mother called police at 4:15 p.m. after being notified by the school that her daughter was not in attendance that day.

Officers canvassed Cleveland's east side Sunday, searching yards and abandoned homes, in connection with the teen's missing persons case when they found a female's body inside an abandoned home at 9412 Fuller Avenue. Officers alerted the family to DeFreeze's death on Tuesday.

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