8-year-old ‘violently sucked into 12 to 16 inch’ malfunctioning hotel pool pipe: Lawsuit

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Aliyah Lynette Jaico and the lazy river pool at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow (KRIV screenshots)

Aliyah Lynette Jaico and the lazy river pool at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow (KRIV screenshots)

The search for an 8-year-old girl who went missing at a Texas hotel over the weekend tragically ended when the child’s body was found “wedged in the pipes” of the hotel’s “malfunctioning pool equipment,” according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the victim’s family.

The victim, identified as Aliyah Lynette Jaico, and her family on Saturday, March 23 had rented a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton so they could “enjoy a day of swimming” when the little girl who “loved to swim” was “violently sucked into a 12 to 16 inch unsecured open gap in the swimming pool flow system of the hotel’s lazy river,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit was filed by Aliyah’s mother, Jose Daniela Jaico Ahumada, in the District Court of Harris County, Texas, and is seeking a sum in excess of $1 million in damages.

According to the complaint, Aliyah at about 4:50 p.m. was swimming with her family when she “suddenly disappeared” from the lazy river. After searching for about 30 minutes, Ahumada had hotel security review surveillance footage, but the staff allegedly refused to do so without the police present. Police were called at about 5:45 p.m. to continue the search for Aliyah.

“A major search that included Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch and the police, were finally granted access to view the security footage wherein it was discovered that (Aliyah) went underwater and never emerged,” the lawsuit states. “A team was then put together to drain the pool and video cameras were attached to 20-foot poles to inspect the pipes when her body was discovered wedged in the pipes of the malfunctioning pool equipment.”

It took approximately 13 hours for authorities to get into the pipe and recover Aliyah’s body, Houston ABC affiliate KTRK reported.

Aliyah’s family alleges that her death was the “direct result” of the defendant’s negligence and the dangerous condition on their commercial property, reasoning that through the exercise of “ordinary care,” the establishment should have known about the problem with the pool that resulted in Aliyah’s death.

The Houston Health Department on Monday performed an inspection of the pool and identified several violations, according to documents obtained by KTRK. Most notably, the inspector reportedly found that the pipe in which Aliyah was pulled from had apparently been malfunctioning by sucking in water when it should have been pushing out water.

“Main drain document was provided and still valid. However small pool has 32-inch channel drains on the walls, without a valid document stating their function, date of installation and date of expiration,” the inspector reportedly wrote in the “comments” section of the report. “A full inspection was conducted, multiple violations were observed. Video footage is available, however manager stated that the footage is being reviewed by legal, and we would have to wait to receive a copy.”

The pool at the hotel has been closed until all of the violations are remedied and it passes another inspection.

Tim Miller, the Texas EquuSearch founder who helped locate Aliyah’s body, told Houston Fox affiliate KRIV that “something had to go terribly wrong” for Aliyah’s body to even get into a pipe that size.

“The size of her body, it would have been nearly impossible for her to intentionally swim in that pipe because when I say she was logged in there tight, she was logged in there tight,” Miller told the station. “To even imagine how her body could get in a pipe that size, something had to go terribly wrong.”

A Hilton spokesperson provided this statement to KTRK late Monday night:

Hilton offers our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones for the tragic loss of a young girl at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow. This property is independently owned and operated by a third party. Hilton does not own, manage, or control the day-to-day operations of the property and does not employ any of the property’s staff or its third-party operators.

We understand that the property is cooperating fully with all authorities investigating the incident. We ask that any further questions be directed to the hotel ownership’s counsel at Trent & Taylor, L.L.P or the Houston Police Department.

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