The parents of an Ohio girl, who was kidnapped and killed on her way to school, are suing the school for not telling them about her absence.
Alianna DeFreeze, 14, was allured inside of an abandoned house by attainted sex offender Christopher Whitaker in Cleveland on January 26, 2017.
Whitaker was sentenced to death as of last year and is currently on death row.
As reported by PEOPLE, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Friday by the teenager’s parents Donnesha Cooper and Damon DeFreeze, who said the school knew about her unexcused absence on January 26, 2017, but failed to announce it to them using the automated messaging system.
The family said due to the school’s failure to notify them of Alianna’s absence on that day; they lost hours that could’ve been utilized to look for her.
Cooper said she had no information about her daughter’s absence from school until 4 pm when she called E Prep and was informed Alianna had not shown up that morning and hadn’t been seen all day.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District, E Prep and Village Prep Woodland Hills, and Friends of Breakthrough Schools were all named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit revealed the school “utterly and without question breached a critical duty owed to each and every parent to provide notice of a missing child – no text messages, phone calls, emails and any other form of communication.”
“Defendants have tried to cover up their fatal inaction by claiming that they sent a message … notifying her of Alianna’s absence, but that the system malfunctioned,” the lawsuit states. “Upon information and belief, defendants school system have lied about their action of sending a message.”
Now, the parents are demanding $15 million in redeeming and harsh damages.
In addition, the case has lead Ohio legislators to pass a new statute, effective in April, that demands schools to inform parents within two hours of the beginning of the school day if a child is pronounced absent without proceeding parental attention, Fox 8 Cleveland announces.
As a result of Alianna’s death, the family has created the Alianna DeFreeze Let’s Make a Change Foundation, a charitable organization calling for vehicles to take children in monetary resource families dependably to and from school.