Christopher Whitaker didn’t know it, but though he was convicted of viciously killing Alianna DeFreeze, he helped start a movement to keep it from happening to anyone else.
"There will never be closure,” Damon DeFreeze, Alianna’s dad, said. “When the Lord puts that on my heart then that's when it'll happen, it's not a time schedule for it, it's not something I'm looking forward to."
The focus now is on the Alianna DeFreeze Let’s Make a Change Foundation, the work that needs to be done.
"Push comes to shove, whether we like it or not, we have to get out there and keep doing it. We have to push on,” DeFreeze said.
Their first push for the foundation is to speed up the process that was introduced by Mayor Frank Jackson last year: Demolishing abandoned buildings around the city.
Since it started, 600 buildings have been knocked down, a number that DeFreeze doesn’t think is impressive.
"You have money to get this done, it shouldn't be a methodical slow process,” DeFreeze said. “It's something that could move much quicker if there was more energy put behind it. I would love to be that energy, I could get those wheels rolling very quickly."
He plans to meet with the mayor again soon to discuss the plan to knock down more buildings faster.
Another priority: Safe transportation for children going to and from school.
"We're in the process of gaining names of parents who are indigent, whose children are walking in the morning while they're at work," DeFreeze said. “They're walking to the bus stop, they're out here at 5:30 in the morning and its dark. These predators know this."
The plan is to get at least three 20-passenger vans, a program that could have saved their daughter’s life because she was last seen going to school using public transportation.
"Just before this tragedy struck, the school that Alianna attended, E Prep, they didn't have the money in their budget for transportation this year so they cut out the transportation,” DeFreeze said. “This is the result of cutting out your transportation."
The murder of a young girl and the pain that comes with it.
If you would like to donate, click this link to the foundation.