8-year-old Houston girl 'violently sucked' into Hilton hotel pool pipe before death, lawsuit says

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An 8-year-old girl died after being “violently sucked” into a large pipe while swimming at a hotel in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, according to a lawsuit filed by the victim’s family.

The young victim, Aliyah Lynette Jaico, was swimming in a lazy river at the Doubletree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow when she suddenly disappeared at around 4:50 p.m. and was pulled into a pipe, according to the lawsuit. 

“Her poor little body was contorted, when she was sucked 20 feet back into this hole and pipe,” the family’s attorney, Richard Nava with Nava Law Group, said at a Tuesday press conference, according to ABC News.

“They had to break up concrete and cut pipe in order to extract her… it was absolutely horrific,” Nava said. 

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The suit alleges that the young girl was suddenly pulled into a “12 to 16-inch unsecured open gap in the swimming pool flow system.”

When she initially disappeared, her family did not know where she had gone, triggering a frantic search, according to the lawsuit — which seeks wrongful death damages of $1 million.

When the girl’s mother could not find the child, she frantically asked the hotel staff to look at video surveillance to find clues.

The lawsuit claims that hotel management denied her request and explained that police would have to be present to view the video surveillance.

Then, at around 5:45 p.m., the girl’s mother, Jose Daniela Jaico Ahumada, called 911 and reported her daughter missing. 

Police arrived on the scene and were granted access to view the security footage wherein they discovered that Aliyah went underwater and never emerged. 

“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,” the suit claims.

The Double Tree Hotel in Houston and its swimming pool

Tim Miller of the Texas Equusearch assisted in the search, which involved draining water from the pool to access the hole.

A visibly shaken Miller said he couldn’t believe that the young girl could have been sucked so far into the pipe. 

“It was something that was just almost unbelievable… even with her and the size of that pipe that this could have happened,” Miller said at the press briefing, noting that Aliyah’s body was not removed until 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

The function of the hole is to pump water into the pool and not suck water out, Miller said. He said there was a pipe next to the one Aliyah got trapped in that was covered with a gate. 

Nava said that Aliyah’s death could have been avoided. She will be buried on Thursday.

“We are seeking justice for Aliyah because this could have been avoidable,” Nava said.

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Nava said the victim’s 5-year-old sister may have also been sucked into the gap at one point and was rescued by her 13 -year-old sister, although the exact details remain unclear. 

Nava said that Aliyah then “just disappeared.”

“What we know what happened was, everybody was swimming together. Mom had stepped away for a moment – a brief moment,” Nava said.

“All the evidence is going to point to this hotel (running) an establishment with many violations,” Nava said. “The pool was not in working order.”

The hotel, which is located about 11 miles northwest of Downtown Houston, is operated by Unique Crowne Hospitality LLC, according to the lawsuit. 

A Hilton spokesperson told Fox News Digital that it does not own, manage, or control the day-to-day operations of the property and it does not employ any of the property’s staff or its third-party operators. Both Unique Crowne Hospitality LLC and Hilton Worldwide Holdings INC. are named as defendants.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a young girl at the DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow and offer our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones. This property is independently owned and operated by a third party,” the spokesperson said. 

An image of a black and white colored Houston Police cruiser

 

Fox News Digital reached out to a representative for Unique Crowne Hospitality LLC but did not immediately receive a response. 

Houston Police confirmed that a girl died at the facility in an “apparent drowning” on Saturday and are awaiting autopsy results. 

The family’s lawsuit claims that the incident occurred due to the operators’ negligence, in that they failed to provide a safe place to swim and failed to provide adequate and timely inspections. 

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges the operators did not have barriers in place to prevent users from being sucked into the gap, and they failed to exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk posed by the gap.

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