CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered new outrage surrounding the death of Alianna DeFreeze, the 7th grade student who was kidnapped on her way to school and murdered.
Her mother found herself left in tears and furious after questions from lawyers responding to a civil lawsuit.
"Why would they put me through that torture? Make me answer those questions?” Donnesha Cooper said, “I had to read ‘em again out loud, like, what? They were just hurtful and disrespectful.”
Back in 2017, a sex offender kidnapped DeFreeze as she walked to school. He tortured her, sexually assaulted her and killed her.
DeFreeze’s mother and father have filed a lawsuit against her school since the school never contacted them the day of the kidnapping when DeFreeze never showed up for class.
Lawyers for the school filed questions about the child’s suffering. Included in the filing, “identify the ‘tremendous and unimaginable physical harm…each body part harmed.’” And “identify the ‘debilitating mental distress’” of family members.
Attorney Allen Boseman of the Sherman Boseman Legal Group, is pushing the lawsuit for the family.
“Where we sit, they’re looking for dirt," said Boseman.
DeFreeze’s killer has been sent to death row, but lawyers for the school are also asking about her phone records with a teen boy.
Boseman added, “What does that have to do with Breakthrough and E Prep failure to notify Ms. Cooper about her daughter being absent from school the entire day?”
We went to the headquarters for Breakthrough Schools, a charter school organization. Later the CEO called us.
Alan Rosskamm said, “You’re telling me things I don’t know about. We’ll have a conversation with our lawyers.”
He added, he really couldn’t discuss this with us since the lawsuit is pending. An attorney for the school also called to say he couldn’t comment with the case pending.
Lawyers for DeFreeze’s family have now filed a new request in court. They want a judge to issue a ruling saying they don’t have to answer some of those questions.
Attorney Boseman said, “We view this as a form of victim shaming.”
Yet, DeFreeze's mom remains determined to hold the school accountable for not letting her know right away her child was missing.
Donnesha Cooper said, “She would still be here today. It’s their fault. They didn’t call me.”
Just after the crime, the school said DeFreeze's mom didn’t get a call due to a malfunction in the system used to notify parents.
The lawsuit nowhere near ready to go before a jury in civil court.
Meantime, DeFreeze’s death has already led to change statewide. Her case sparked a law requiring schools to notify parents when their kids don’t show up for their classes.