A negligent security lawsuit filed by a Florida mother whose 12-year-old daughter was brutally murdered last year alleges the owners and managers of the apartment complex where they lived could have prevented the tragedy had they taken reasonable security measures.
Naomi Jones went missing from her Pensacola apartment building on May 31, 2017. Her body was found in Escambia Creek five days later.
Police arrested Robert Howard, a convicted sex offender who lived in the same apartment complex, unbeknownst to Shantara Hurry, Naomi’s mother.
According to Pensacola’s WEAR TV, Ms. Hurry said in a press conference she would not have lived in the apartment complex had she known a sex offender lived there too. She indicated the owners and managers of the apartment complex fell short when it came to concern for the children living in the apartments.
“I would like them to be more concerned about their children’s safety. There is no reason why a child should live and dwell somewhere and not know about the unknown dangers around them,” she said.
Ms. Hurry filed the negligent security/wrongful death lawsuit against Aspen Village Acquisition, the owner of the apartment complex, and Progressive Management of America, the management company. She asserts the defendants knew or should have known a convicted sex offender lived in the same apartments where Naomi and other children lived.
The defendants “breached [their] duty of reasonable care by permitting an unregistered sex offender to reside upon the premises, thus allowing the offender continual, unfettered access to young children and others upon whom persons with his predilections are known to prey,” her lawsuit alleges, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
“This breach of reasonable care greatly enhanced the foreseeable risk of violence to the residents of the premises, including Naomi Jones,” the negligent security complaint alleges.
Ms. Hurry seeks compensation for her pain and suffering, expenses for medical care and funeral arrangements associated with her daughter’s death, and the value the decedent’s survivor would have received from the decedent’s life if not for her “untimely, tragic and wrongful death,” according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Ms. Hurry also hopes her lawsuit will send a strong message to other apartment owners and managers, that they should “exercise actionable logical and moral care” by prohibiting residence to sex offenders.
She also hopes Naomi’s death and the negligent security lawsuit may lead to a Florida state law that would require background checks to tenant applicants.