See No Evil examines the horrifying case of Alianna DeFreeze, a 14-year-old seventh-grader, from Cleveland, Ohio, who was brutally abducted, raped, tortured, and murdered as she traveled to school.
On January 26, 2017, Alianna left her home to make her way to school. The journey required her to take a bus transfer, and as she made her way for her second bus, she was approached by Christopher Whitaker.
Whitaker snatched Alianna from the sidewalk and brought her to an abandoned house where he raped her. He then tortured the girl with a variety of different tools, including a drill, before killing her. The cause of death was registered as multiple stabs wounds.
Alianna’s parents were not notified until approximately 4 PM that she had not arrived at her school. This prompted a law change in Ohio’s legislature, which determined that schools now have two hours to notify parents when a child fails to attend.
When the authorities were finally notified that Alianna was missing, it triggered a city-wide search that lasted three days until she was discovered in the abandoned house.
All evidence pointed to Christopher Whitaker as the murderer
Investigators were able to zero in on Whitaker because he had left his DNA, fingerprints, and a bloody footprint at the scene.
Their case was also aided by surveillance footage, which had spotted Whitaker pacing in the area where Alianna was abducted. This was corroborated by a witness who claims they saw Whitaker snatch the girl; they didn’t report it at the time because they were unaware of the relationship between the two.
Whitaker claims that he was high on cocaine at the time and blacked out. His lawyers argued that he should be spared the death penalty because drug use had made him incapable of following the law.
In the spring of 2019, a jury and a judge disagreed with his lawyers, and Whitaker was sentenced to death. He apologized to Alianna’s family and stated: “There is no excuse for what I’ve done.”
Whitaker was a registered sex offender who had a lengthy criminal history, which included aggravated robbery, theft, and assault.
More from See No Evil
Follow the links to read about more murders solved using surveillance footage.
Last week on See No Evil, Michael Russo had been harassing staff members at his local 7-Eleven store for some time. Then in 2015, he entered the store and shot dead 18-year-old store clerk Kyle Farishian before attempting to set the premises on fire.
Previously the team looked at the heartbreaking case of 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson, who was raped, sodomized, and murdered by her father, who then left her half-naked body on a trash pile in an alley in Prichard, Alabama. Hiawatha Robinson then tried to play the role of a grieving father before police saw through his lies.
See No Evil airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.