The family of Yashanee Vaughn has filed a formal complaint with the Independent Police Review Division in the City Auditor's office. The filing comes eight days after learning that defense attorneys knew the whereabouts of the girl's body for months before she was found.
Parrish Bennette shot and killed Yashanee, then disposed of her body on Rocky Butte in 2011. He received an 18-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in a plea deal.
It was during the Jan. 17 sentencing when the family first learned of the attorneys' knowledge of the whereabouts of Yashanee's body.
The attorneys said the decision to delay telling police the whereabouts of the body was made by defense attorney Thomas McNair and his defense team, not by Bennette himself.
Administrators with the Metropolitan Public Defenders, the group that represents Bennette, said their lawyers did nothing wrong legally by keeping the location of Yashanee's body a secret.
While keeping the information quiet from the Vaughn family was morally difficult, they did so because it was in the best interest of their client and the case.
Yashanee's family said that's not reason enough, and something must be done to change the law.
The complaint was filed with the Independent Police Review Division at the Portland City Auditor's Office on Friday.
"We filed a complaint…to have the investigation reviewed," said Shaquita Louis, Yashanee's mother.
"I am in no way blaming anyone in particular but too many red flags bothered us for almost two years, those concerns were only enhanced following McNair's statement in court and so our family is making sure Yashanee received the same investigation any other missing person case would have," said Louis.
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