Dallas/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 21, 2024
Family Sues Public Storage for Over $1 Million After Son Found Dead in Arlington Unit, Alleging Negligence and False ImprisonmentSource: Echambliss at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The grief-stricken family of Debony Maffett II, a 27-year-old man found deceased in an Arlington storage unit, is taking legal measures against Public Storage. According to The Dallas Express, Maffett's relatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit asserting that the storage company was negligent, falsely imprisoned their son, and engaged in deceptive trade practices.

Attorney Justin Moore announced the lawsuit during a news conference on Wednesday, with a claim lodged on June 12, over a year since Maffett's disappearance in late March 2023. This suit is seeking damages over $1 million. "We want this lawsuit to serve as an accountability apparatus and mechanism for Public Storage," Moore stated, as per The Dallas Express. Residents and community members employed flyers in an attempt to trace Maffett's whereabouts after he vanished, some of which reached the Public Storage facility where his body would eventually be discovered.

Maffett's father came face to face with an employee at the storage facility on April 2, 2023. According to Moore, as cited by The Dallas Morning News, the employee behaved oddly and refused cooperation when law enforcement arrived, even barricading himself inside the office. The next day, a former federal agent and family friend broke the lock on Maffett's storage unit and found him decomposing.

Although the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office attributed the death to an accidental overdose of K2, a synthetic cannabinoid, there's uncertainty around the circumstances of the incident. Moore alleges that Public Storage was aware of the fact that Maffett was living in his storage unit contrary to company policies. Maffett, who was battling mental health issues, was purportedly allowed by the facility to rent the space for living. Public Storage has yet to respond to requests for comment on the allegations or the discovery of Maffett's body on their premises.

The Arlington Police Department stated in an email on Tuesday that the investigation into Maffett’s death was cleared administratively in July 2023, as per The Dallas Morning News. Nevertheless, the family's quest for answers and justice persists, with Debony Maffett Sr. expressing their profound loss, "He was my son. He was young. He had a bright future in front of him, and we still haven’t recovered. We cry every day about it."