Family files claim against Auburn University over student's murder

Jan. 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM
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AUBURN, Ala., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The parents of a Auburn University student who was kidnapped from the Alabama campus and murdered say they have filed a claim against the school.

In March 2008, Lauren Burk was kidnapped a campus parking lot and found murdered, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Courtney Lockhart, a dishonorably discharged soldier, was convicted in the case and sentenced to death.

Police said Lockhart kidnapped Burk during an attempted robbery. While being driven from campus, Burk tried to escape, but Lockhart fatally shot her as she jumped from the car.

Burk's parents, Jim Burk and Viviane Guerschon, allege that if Auburn had a campus police department, their daughter's death may have been prevented. The family has also alleged that the school failed to follow security recommendations made in a federal report before their daughter's murder.

Auburn University is protected against lawsuits under sovereign immunity laws, so Burk's parents filed a $1 million claim against Auburn with the state of Alabama's Board of Adjustment.

Jim Burk said the claim is more about money.

"It's kind of a moral claim, and I want them to be judged by public opinion," said Burk. "My concern is to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else."

Auburn University spokesperson Mike Clarity said: "At this point, we are not aware of the claim. And it's Auburn's policy not to comment on pending investigative issues."

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