CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The violent death of 14-year-old Alianna DeFreeze sparked headlines across the country after she was found stabbed, raped and beaten to death in an abandoned building.
But it wasn't the first time that a member of the DeFreeze family garnered nationwide attention for a shocking death that etched their surname into Cleveland history.
Alianna's grandfather, Cleveland native Donald DeFreeze, took his own life in a firefight with police and federal agents in Los Angeles, some 60 days after he organized the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.
His youngest son is Alianna's father, Damon, according to public records and court documents.
Donald DeFreeze was the son of a toolmaker and nurse's aide and the eldest of eight children. He left Cleveland at 14 and joined a Buffalo, New York street gang. He later moved to New Jersey, where he married Gloria Thomas, who now lives in Cleveland.
Thomas had three children from a previous marriage, but had three more with Donald, according to court records. The couple lived in Los Angeles for years and returned to Cleveland in the late '60s. He left Cleveland after posting bond following an arrest for climbing on top of a bank with a tool kit and a hand grenade.
He was also convicted in Los Angeles in 1969 for an armed-robbery, and he was wounded in a gunfight with police during his arrest in that case.
His wife and six children would return to Cleveland. Donald broke out of Soledad Prison in California on March 5, 1973. Three months later, his wife filed for divorce and was later granted custody of all six children.
Donald went to Oakland, where he formed the Symbionese Liberation Army. Members of the group murdered the superintendent of Oakland city schools in November 1973.
On Feb. 4, 1974, Donald, who went by "Cinque," helped plan and execute the kidnapping of Hearst, then a 19-year-old student in Berkeley, California. She was held in a closet with her hands tied behind her back for a week. The kidnapping grabbed front-page headlines across the country.
The FBI conducted a massive manhunt. But two months later, Hearst publicly announced she had aligned her thinking with the SLA and committed a bank robbery with the group in Los Angeles.
When Donald DeFreeze was linked to the kidnapping, FBI agents in Cleveland raided his mother's home on East 96th Street. The Cleveland connection to the case garnered more than 100 stories in the Plain Dealer.
Reporters swarmed his ex-wife's home for days. A WKYC cameraman was hit by a woman walking into the home with Gloria Thomas.
Thomas twice declined to talk to a cleveland.com reporter for this story as did several other family members. She told a Plain Dealer reporter in 1974 that she divorced her husband and had nothing else to say.
The search for Donald ended on May 17, 1974. Some 500 police officers and federal agents swarmed a home where he was holed up with other SLA members.
Law enforcement fired more than 3,000 bullets and seven teargas canisters into the home. The home caught fire and burned to the ground.
Officials said that Donald shot himself as the home burned. Four days later, his body was flown back to Cleveland and is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Highland Hills.
His death caused his daughter, Dawn DeFreeze, to feel conflicted that her father chose to give his life for his cause, instead of caring for his family, she wrote in a blog posting on a religious website in 2001.
"At my father's funeral I couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling of guilt for not being able to cry for him," she wrote. "He had been an absentee father. A part of my life yet never there. I could not understand the wailing and grieving of so many people I have never seen before."
The man accused of killing Alianna, Christopher Whitaker, faces the death penalty. He is charged with aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated burglary and abusing a corpse.
He is being held without bond in the county jail.
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