Published February 22, 2008
INVERNESS, Fla. – The parents of Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped and buried alive by a sex offender, plan to sue over allegations of negligence, MyFoxTampaBay.com reported.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday said it had received notice of a lawsuit from Jessica’s parents, Mark Lunsford and Angela Wright, though Mark Lunsford said they had not actually filed it yet.
The notice claims the sheriff’s office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners were negligent during the investigation into the girl’s disappearance and alleges that such negligence possibly contributed to her death, according to MyFoxTampaBay.com.
Jessica was murdered by John Couey in 2005. It took a month for authorities to find her body. Couey was sentenced to death last year for the gruesome killing.
"I know you have a lot of questions, and you deserve the answers, and so does the public," Mark Lunsford told reporters outside his home Thursday.
This weekend is the annual motorcycle fundraiser known as "Jessie’s Ride," which benefits the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation and Jessie’s Place, a child advocacy center in the works.
The event begins at Florida's New Port Richie Harley-Davidson and ends at the Crystal River Harley-Davidson.
On Friday, Mark Lunsford spoke of the importance of passing and revising laws to shield children from sex offenders.
"When we get these bills with teeth that protect children from child molesters, we have to clean the marks up behind the ears and remove the attachments and get these bills through," he said.
"A lot of these bills provide tools and money and education to law enforcement so that we can do searches and investigations better," he added.
Lunsford took issue with the sheriff's characterization of his daughter's case as a "textbook example."
"If we do things the same way, we have another dead child," he said.
"We got a lot to fix. A lot."