Family suing police department in death of daughter - WNEM TV 5

Family suing police department in death of daughter

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"I just can't get past this, it haunts me every day," said Teresa Medel.

It's been nearly three years since Medel's daughter was murdered in the city of Saginaw by Michael Lawrence.

But today she filed a lawsuit suing the Lansing Police Department for their role in the death of her daughter, Angelica Olivarez.

"I feel they could have done more than what they did," Medel said.

Lawrence was convicted and sentenced to life in prison last year for the drive-by shooting death of 6-year-old Layla Jones in August 2012.

A few months later, in April 2013, Lawrence killed the mother of his child, Medel's daughter, Olivarez. Both murders happened in Saginaw.

In the months between the murder of Jones and Olivarez, Lawrence was one of Michigan's most wanted. During that time he was arrested in Lansing and taken into police custody.

Attorney Shawn Cioffi is representing the family of Olivarez and said what happened is a terrible case of negligence.

"Michael Lawrence killed Angelica Olivarez, the Lansing Police did not,” Cioffi said. “But I do know that wouldn't have happened if Lansing Police had held Michael Lawrence as he was already wanted for murder."

According to court documents, Lawrence was not only arrested a few months after being named as a suspect in Jones’ murder, but while in custody of Lansing Police, those documents show Lawrence claimed he had no id and gave police a fake name.

He did so three times before being released without being fingerprinted.

“They released him even though they knew he had already given him a fake name,” Cioffi said.

According to those documents, Lansing Police said the third fake name  which matched the description.

At that point, Lawrence, a wanted murderer, walked out of a holding cell as a free man.

Soon after, Lawrence strangled Olvarez to death inside her home while their son was watching.

"The family is looking forward to their day in court, because that what this case is about it's about a six year old boy who's been left without his mother due to the negligence of the Lansing Police Department," Cioffi said.

Medel said the legal fight is not only for her daughter, but also for her grandson.

"His mother is gone. His father is in prison. I feel like I have to find a way to make his life easier," Medel said.

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