CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned that Cleveland Police searched a home and gathered new evidence against a convicted sex offender charged with the murder of 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze. This after a tip led investigators to a home near East 84th and Superior, miles away from the murder scene.
Alianna disappeared last month near E 93rd and Kinsman while going to school. Police found her body days later. The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s office used DNA to help identify Christopher Whitaker as the suspected killer.
As a sex offender, Whitaker has registered his address with Cuyahoga Sheriff’s Deputies, and for years, he’s listed a home in South Euclid.
However, after his arrest for the murder, police got a tip that led them to a home on East 84th. The caller told police Whitaker had often stayed there, and he even had a pile of dirty clothing in a room. Police seized the clothing and more. It is now being checked for any evidence tied to the murder.
Multiple sources say Whitaker did handyman work at that home off Superior and other places.
Kiana Chappell, a next door neighbor said, We spoke to him every day. I never even knew that that was Chris until I seen it on my Facebook. I'm like, ‘Oh, my God’." She added, "He was here, though, every day. Through the whole summer, everything."
Last week, deputies said they had last checked on Whitaker’s address in 2015. Now, they say, they actually checked on it in 2016. Records show, Whitaker also spent time in Georgia each of the last two years.
Homicide investigators are confident they have the right man for the murder. Police are also still investigating if Whitaker could be to blame for any other unsolved crimes.
Next step in the case, evidence will be presented to a grand jury for charges.