Houston hotel owner says Aliyah Jaico’s mom’s ‘negligent actions’ played role in her drowning

March 23, 2024: Aliyah Jaico, 8, drowned after she somehow got stuck in a pool drain at the DoubleTree hotel on Northwest Freeway and Pinemont Drive in Houston. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

In response to the wrongful death lawsuit involving Aliyah Jaico, Unique Crowne Hospitality, the local owner of DoubleTree by Hilton, has filed a response alleging the mother’s responsibility for the tragedy.

PREVIOUS: 8-year-old Texas girl was ‘violently sucked’ into hotel swimming pool

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Filed on April 22, UCH explicitly denies the claims made against them and emphasizes the need for “stringent evidence to support the accusations.” They also claim that the mother’s alleged “negligent actions” or oversights played a role in the incident.

“UCH asserts that Plaintiffs engaged in negligent acts and/or omissions that proximately caused the alleged injuries and damages,” the court document reads. “UCH seeks a reduction of any damages that may be awarded against it by the percentage of responsibility found by the jury as to Plaintiffs, settling parties, responsible third parties, and/or anyone else.”

Jaico was swimming with other family members in a lazy river-style pool at the hotel when the 8-year-old somehow got stuck inside a large pipe that feeds into the pool. The medical examiner said her death was caused by drowning and mechanical asphyxiation.

MORE: 8-year-old Houston girl ‘violently sucked’ into hotel swimming pool pipe drowned and suffered mechanical asphyxiation

The lawsuit filed by Aliyah Jaico’s family accuses the hotel of gross negligence, stating the family’s attempts to view security footage were denied by management. Jaico’s body was recovered over 12 hours after she disappeared, and the family is seeking over $1 million in damages, along with a jury trial.

“Given the sensitive nature of this case it is unfortunate that Hilton and the Franchisee are alleging contribution,” attorney Richard Nava tells KPRC 2. “My client is distraught and this only deepens her suffering. We look forward to our day in court and it will be shown exactly how easily this could’ve been prevented and Aliyah would still be with us.”

The Jaico family lawsuit names DoubleTree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. as defendants. It alleges Jaico’s family tried to get hotel management to look at the security camera video around 30 minutes after she disappeared, but management denied their request and said law enforcement had to be present to view the video surveillance.

RELATED: ‘The worst day:’ Family’s attorney speaks as Aliyah Jaico laid to rest

Rescuers had to use heavy machinery to break through tile and dirt and eventually recovered Jaico’s body around 6:30 a.m., more than 12 hours after she disappeared. According to a report from the City of Houston’s Health Department, the pool was not in compliance with federal laws meant to prevent drain entrapment and child drowning in swimming pools.

The lawsuit alleges gross negligence on the part of the hotel which led to the death of Jaico. The family is seeking over $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit. A jury trial has also been requested.

MORE: ‘Not approved to open:’ Lazy river pumps, pipes at hotel pool where girl died weren’t approved or inspected by city

About the Authors

Holly joined the KPRC 2 digital team in March 2024, leveraging her eight years of expertise in blogging and digital content to share her passion for Houston. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the city's vibrant scenes, all while balancing her roles as a wife and mother to two toddlers.

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.

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