Sister of murdered Schaumburg woman sues suspect, apartment complex
The sister of murdered Schaumburg resident Tiffany Thrasher has filed a lawsuit against the man charged with her death, the apartment complex where both lived, and the company that rented the unit where the suspect and five other transient workers resided.
The Cook County suit includes counts against: 29-year-old suspect Bulmaro Mejia-Maya; Delaware-based Home Properties Schaumburg LLC, which manages Lakes of Schaumburg Apartments; and Florida-based Estrellas Drywall Inc., which employed Mejia-Maya.
Neither Home Properties Schaumburg nor Estrellas Drywall Inc. responded to requests for comment Tuesday.
Investigators have accused Mejia-Maya of sexually assaulting and strangling the 33-year-old Thrasher in her apartment about 50 feet from his own unit in April.
Schaumburg police found Thrasher about 11:45 a.m. April 16 after parishioners at Living Hope Church in Elk Grove Village called them out of concern because she had failed to arrive for services that Easter morning.
Mejia-Maya was arrested April 19 at his uncle's house in Jacksonville, Florida, and charged with felony murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and home invasion. Authorities think he entered Thrasher's first-floor apartment through a window.
Misty King, Thrasher's sister and administrator of her estate, filed the lawsuit against the three defendants Tuesday.
The suit includes counts of wrongful death and battery against Mejia-Maya, and wrongful death, negligence and intentional interference with a contract against Home Properties Schaumburg. The counts against Estrellas Drywall are wrongful death and assumption of liability.
King said the suit, which seeks more than $50,000 each from the companies, is intended to prevent other families from suffering a tragedy like her sister's murder.
"My overall hope is that holding accountable those who could have protected her will make them more vigilant," King said.
Her attorney, Craig Brown, said it's hoped the courts will bring justice to Mejia-Maya and keep him imprisoned for life. The basis of the counts against the companies is that allowing six unrelated people to live in a two-bedroom apartment violates Schaumburg's zoning code and Crime-Free Program for multifamily housing with which the apartment complex claimed to comply.
Thrasher, who had been living in her apartment barely more than a month, previously had left apartment complexes because she didn't feel safe, Brown said. Home Properties Schaumburg's marketing -- and that she had to consent to a criminal-background check -- made her feel she'd found the right place, he added.
However, in his research for the lawsuit, Brown said Mejia-Maya and his roommates did not undergo such scrutiny. Also, Estrellas Drywall never had to sign the Crime-Free Addendum informing the company of its liability for any criminal actions by its employees living there, Brown said.
Mejia-Maya's case is in Cook County circuit court.