‘I know she’s proud’: Father reacts as bill named for murdered teen moves closer to law

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COLUMBUS, Ohio-- A proposed law named in honor of a Cleveland teenager murdered on her way to school is headed to the Gov. John Kasich’s desk to be signed into law.

The Ohio House of Representatives approved Alianna’s Alert.

On Thursday, by a vote of 85 to 4, legislators passed the measure, which requires Ohio schools to call parents within two hours of the start of the school day, if their child has not shown up for class. The provision better known as Alianna's Alert was included in another piece of legislation to get it passed by the end of the General Assembly.

"I'm elated. I was at work almost breaking down," said Damon DeFreeze, Alianna’s father.

He said he received a call from Ohio Sen. Sandra Williams, who introduced the original bill in the senate, where it passed unanimously last week.

"Although it passed, they like threw it in there with some other bills and laws that were passed... Alianna deserved and we will seek to get her own platform, like Amber Alert has hers," DeFreeze said.

In January 2017, Alianna was kidnapped, raped and murdered on her way to school. Her parents did not know she was absent until after the end of the school day. Her body was later found inside a vacant home, which was torn down two weeks ago.

Before Thursday's vote, state legislators from Northeast Ohio voiced their support for the bill.

"To the DeFreeze family, we say we are sorry for your loss and you are with us forever. We will think of you, we thank you for sharing your story and for the work that you do on behalf of your beautiful daughter, Alianna," said State Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, a Democrat from District 34 in Akron.

"It seems such a common right thing to do that I think some of us may have even been surprised that this isn't part of regular procedure anyway," said State. Rep. Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from District 13 in Lakewood.

Her father said through the Alianna DeFreeze Let's Make a Change Foundation, he hopes to do even more.

"I know she's proud. I know she's happy, this is gonna save a lot of lives," DeFreeze said.

He said he also plans to keep pushing for more abandoned houses to be torn down in Cleveland.

Christopher Whitaker sits on death row, convicted of killing Alianna.

More stories on Alianna DeFreeze here

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