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Vigil for Alianna DeFreeze

Updated: Feb. 4, 2017 at 5:28 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Saturday afternoon a vigil was held for Alianna DeFreeze in Cleveland. People at the vigil on East 93rd Street and Kinsman Road thanked the police for arresting Christopher Whitaker.



The 44-year-old man charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of DeFreeze had an arraignment Saturday morning where a bond of $3 million was set.

Whitaker, of South Euclid, was charged with aggravated murder in Alianna DeFreeze's 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.

His next court appearance will be Feb. 14.

According to a criminal complaint on Jan. 26 while in the area of East 93rd Street and Kinsman Road, Whitaker purposely and with prior calculation cause the death of DeFreeze.

Whitaker, a convicted sex offender, was arrested Feb. 2 at 6800 Mayfield Road in Mayfield Heights by Cleveland Police and U.S. Marshals.

Whitaker was identified as the suspect in this case through evidence discovered by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office Northeast Ohio Regional Forensic Laboratory.

DeFreeze was last seen on Thursday, 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 pm.

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 at 9412 Fuller Ave. Officers documented more than 80 interviews along with multiple street encounters and knock and talks. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation augmented and supported this effort with additional canvasses and interviews.

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