The mother of a missing Peru State College student is suing the college, local and state governments and the man suspected in the woman's disappearance.
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The mother of a missing Peru State College student is suing the college, local and state governments and the man suspected in the woman's disappearance.
Tyler "Ty" Thomas was 19 when she disappeared two years ago, having last been seen after midnight on Dec. 3, 2010, walking alone on campus after leaving a party.
In a lawsuit filed in Nebraska's federal court on Monday, Thomas' family members say they believe she is dead and plan to prove in court that she died at the hands of a suspect in her disappearance, 31-year-old Joshua Keadle.
"Tyler Thomas was the victim of an assault, abduction and killed as a student while attending Peru State College campus ..." an attorney for LaTanya Thomas, Timothy Ashford, wrote in the lawsuit.
Keadle, originally from Swansea, S.C., has not been charged in Thomas' disappearance, but authorities questioned him extensively when she went missing. Investigators have said Keadle told them he and Thomas had sex in Keadle's vehicle and then got into an argument in which Thomas threatened to report that Keadle had raped her. Keadle said he returned to his dorm room and took a shower to wash off any physical evidence of their encounter, according to court documents filed by Nemaha County Sheriff's officials.
Authorities have said they believe Keadle is the last person to see Thomas alive.
Keadle, who is currently serving a 15- to 20-year prison sentence for the 2008 rape of 15-year-old Fremont girl, was also accused of sexually assaulting another Peru State College student in 2010, but prosecutors dropped the charges saying they would have had a hard time getting a conviction.
The lawsuit blames the college and local and state officials for neglecting to protect Thomas from what family members believe was an attack that killed her.
Although the rape charges hadn't been filed at the time of Thomas' disappearance, Keadle had several lesser brushes with the law on his record.
"Defendant Peru State College assigned Keadle, who was an older male student, to the same floor and a few doors away from freshman Tyler Thomas in the housing unit," the lawsuit says. The college "admitted Keadle as a student when they knew that Keadle had criminal propensities, a criminal background and had trouble prior to their admission of Keadle to the college and his assignment to the housing unit."
Nebraska prison officials said Wednesday that Keadle declined a request by The Associated Press for comment. An attorney for Keadle in his Nebraska criminal cases declined to comment and said he would not be representing Keadle in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks more than $1,600 in student loans Thomas had incurred that her parents are being compelled to repay, as well as unspecified damages for Thomas' and her family's pain and suffering.
Spokeswomen for Peru State College, the city of Auburn and the Nebraska Attorney General's office declined to comment Wednesday on the lawsuit. Ashford, LaTanya Thomas' lawyer, did not immediately return messages left Wednesday seeking comment.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
(Image courtesy of Stock.xchng)