Jarrae Nikole Estepp, 21, was found dead in a trash recycling center. Jodi Pier-Estepp, the victim’s mother now alleges the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s overworked parole agents and its defective GPS tracking devices, according to the lawsuit she filed.
The lawsuit alleges that the state did not monitor the 2 GPS-wearing offenders adequately, who were accused of killing the young woman, plus 3 other women who were kidnapped from certain areas branded for prostitution. The lawsuit was filed last week, saying that the victim was supposed to be alive today if not for the department’s faulty monitoring and failure to report violations.
The suit named the state corrections department, electronic monitoring companies 3M and the Satellite Tracking of People, including unnamed parole agents.
Franc Cano, one of Estepp’s accused killers was under parole during the time of Estepp’s death. Steven Gordon, the second defendant had left parole months earlier. He was under federal supervision after that. Both accused are now awaiting court hearing.
A Register probe into the serial killings indicated a false sense of security, which was created by an over-reliance on tracking devices as well as the overworking of parole agents. Meanwhile, the corrections department did not to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks unidentified damages.
On March 21, 2014, Jarrae Estepp’s nude and strangled body was discovered in a conveyor belt in a huge trash compactor across a town, nearby an industrial complex where Cano and Gordon lived. Cell phone data and GPS linked her death with the men, including those of the other victims.
While Estepp’s body was the only one recovered, the police officials believe that the other victims were likewise disposed in dumpsters, and then ended up being buried in landfill. Both of the suspects have served sentences for child molestation, and were required to enlist as sex offenders, requiring them to wear GPS devices. However, the lawsuit says the devices can be disabled easily.
The suit specifically stated that the GPS devices could be easily removed by its wearers, covered with tin foil so as to interfere with the signal. The batteries also died early, while the cases cracked, and so the devices were subject to jammers, based on the suit. The state has changed GPS vendors; however, the lawsuit alleges that the move was too late. The suit also said that the violations and key data went unreported and undetected.
Moreover, the suit stated that the parole officers were inadequately staffed as some agents were assigned to 120 sex offenders per head. Some agents also refused to answer calls or alerts in the middle of the night, merely because they were not compensated.
The parole agent association president Ondre Henry agreed that some off-duty personnel do not respond because of the same reason, adding that they were generally overtasked. He said that the caseloads should be reduced so as they can investigate and review tracks.
The alleged negligence of the state claims the wrongful death of Jodi Pier-Estepp, according to her mother, saying that the CDCR failed to fulfill its duties in protecting the public through employing malfunctioning devices, understaffing, and the improper supervision and training of its parole officers.