Alianna DeFreeze was a beautiful 14-year-old girl in 7th grade with developmental disabilities from Cleveland, Ohio. Alianna would take the RTA bus to school, which her mother and grandmother did not like. However, the bus stop was in front of a police station which made them feel better about her means of transportation.

On January 26, 2017, Alianna never made it to school that day. At 4:00 pm when she had not returned home from school her mother became concerned. She called the school and was informed that Alianna never arrived at school. She was reported missing, prompting a city-wide search. Unfortunately, Alianna’s body was discovered 3 days later.

Alianna DeFreeze pictured on the bus via surveillance video before her abduction.

RTA surveillance footage recorded on the morning of January 26, 2017, shows Alianna getting off a bus. Surveillance video from a business shows her crossing East 93rd Street. She was then stopped outside the True Gospel Missionary Baptist Church by a man named Christopher Whitaker. According to video recorded from the church, had been pacing around the area for several hours. 

Alianna took a step back from Christopher then he started following her. According to a witness, Christopher grabbed Alianna as she walked along East 93rd Avenue. The witness did not contact the police because he was unsure of the relationship between Alianna and Christopher. Surveillance video then shows Christopher leading Alianna through a field to Fuller Avenue. 

Christopher took Alianna to an abandoned house where he raped her. He then used a Black and Decker drill, a Phillips-head screwdriver, a nut driver, a box cutter, and a hammer to stab and beat her to death. 

Alianna died from numerous stab wounds and blunt force injuries that were severe. 

On January 29, 2017, Alianna’s body was found at the house where Christopher had murdered her by three Cleveland police officers. The officers entered the house after noticing that the back door was open and found a trail of blood leading from the dining room into a room behind a closed door. After kicking the door open, they found Alianna’s body in a pool of blood off to the corner. She was naked except for her socks and had suffered from head wounds. 

The boxcutter was used to slash Alianna’s throat while the drill had been used to put four puncture wounds into her cheek, as well as a wound on her forehead that dislodged her right eyeball from the socket. Alianna appeared as if she had been dragged and thrown into the room. Her clothing, including a tie soaked with blood and a sweater that was torn open down the front, were found scattered inside the house. 

Along with Alianna’s clothing, police also found her backpack, and tools including a drill, box cutter, a screwdriver, and a hammer, all of which was covered in blood. The tools were laid out on a built-in bench in the dining room prosecutors described as a makeshift workstation. 

Alianna’s body was identified using dental records by the medical examiner’s office. An autopsy performed by Cuyahoga County Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. David Dolinak revealed that she suffered wounds caused by tools found in the house including a drill, a screwdriver, and a box cutter. She had so many injuries and her injuries were so severe that Dr. Dolinak could not identify which one caused her death. Forensics analysts also found Christopher’s DNA on Alianna’s body. 

Christopher was identified using the DNA and was arrested at 7:00 pm on February 2, 2017 at the Villa Serena Apartments in Mayfield Heights with the assistance of U.S. Marshalls. 

Christopher Whitaker is currently sitting on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Chillicothe, Ohio for aggravated burglary, kidnapping, rape, aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. He was formally sentenced on February 23, 2018.

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