8-year-old girl 'violently sucked' into NW Houston hotel pool's unsecured gap, lawsuit reads

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
8-year-old girl's body found wedged in pipes, lawsuit claims
A $1 million wrongful death lawsuit is revealing graphic details of an 8-year-old girl's drowning in a northwest Houston pool.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An 8-year-old girl reported missing over the weekend was found "wedged in the pipes of the malfunctioning pool equipment" at a northwest Houston hotel, a lawsuit filed by her mother claimed.

The child's family identified the victim pulled from the swimming pool at the DoubleTree by Hilton on U.S. 290 as Aliyah Lynette Jaico.

Lawyers for Aliyah's mother scheduled a news conference Tuesday to discuss their suit against Doubletree's parent company, Hilton, and the local operator of the hotel, Unique Crowne Hospitality.

They seek at least $1 million in damages on behalf of Aliyah's mother.

Read the full lawsuit:

ABC13 could not get a comment from the ownership group on the filing, but it confirmed the pool was temporarily closed.

A Hilton spokesperson provided a statement 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.

In the lawsuit obtained by Eyewitness News, Aliyah's mother booked a room at the Doubletree to enjoy a day of swimming.

According to the lawsuit, Aliyah disappeared in the lazy river before 5 p.m. on Saturday. After about an hour of searching, her mother reportedly called the police to report her missing.

Texas EquuSearch was eventually called to use specialized equipment to inspect the pipes.

Texas EquuSearch's founder, Tim Miller, said that investigators reviewed security video and saw Aliyah enter the water, but she never came up.

Miller added that they attached cameras from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to the end of long poles and drained the pool so they could check the pipes.

It took the Houston Fire Department and the rest of the team about 13 hours to break through and recover her body.

In a graphic part of the lawsuit, attorneys wrote that Aliyah was "violently sucked into a 12- to 16-inch unsecured open gap in the swimming pool flow system."

The pool was inspected on Monday.

According to officials, the new piping appeared to be malfunctioning because it was supposed to be pushing water out. Instead, it was pulling water in.

In addition, 13 Investigates found the Houston Health Department's reports from Monday's inspection, which identified multiple violations.

"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. 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," part of Monday's report read.

March 2024 report:

March 2023 report:

June 2023 report:

September 2022 report:

September 2021 report:

ORIGINAL REPORT: Questions arise over responsibility in death of 8-year-old girl found in pool pipe at Houston hotel