- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The parents of a 19-year-old girl strangled by her boyfriend are suing the Omaha Police Department and an Omaha mental health facility, saying their mistakes in dealing with the killer led to their daughter’s death.

The parents of 19-year-old Melissa Rodriguez, who was killed by Mikael Loyd in August 2013, filed the wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday in Douglas County District Court, The Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1IqIYhB ).

The lawsuit accuses the police and Lasting Hope Recovery Center of making several mistakes while holding Loyd in emergency protective custody at the center. Those mistakes include the center failing to call police after Loyd walked away from the center before he was discharged and police failing to take Loyd into custody even though he called and informed them he was no longer at the center.

Those actions ultimately cost Rodriguez her life, the lawsuit says.

Loyd is serving at least 30 years for strangling Rodriguez and dumping her body in an open grave at a local cemetery after he left Lasting Hope on Aug. 14, 2014.

The family’s attorney, Brian Jorde, said the family filed the lawsuit to seek answers to many questions surrounding the case. The family is asking for damages in an amount to be determined at trial.

“Our position is, this is a tragedy that could have been prevented and should have been prevented with following checks and balances that were missed,” Jorde said. “(The parents) are devastated, and it seems clears from the facts that there was at the very least miscommunication between the police and Lasting Hope.”

Spokeswomen for Lasting Hope and the Omaha police declined to comment on the lawsuit to the newspaper.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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