Ame Deal had suffered through plenty of unimaginable horrors during her 10 short years on this earth, but nothing can quite compare to the sick abuse she was forced to go through one day in 2011.
As FOX 26 reports, several of the 10-year-old’s family members awoke one morning to find Ame dead in a plastic padlocked storage box, where she had been all night.
The reason why? She stole a single popsicle,
Police on the case say the two family members responsible for the twisted punishment had fallen asleep and forgotten about Ame after forcing her into the box.
28-year-old Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen, one of Ame’s cousins, is now going on trial this week for the child’s 2011 death.
Prosecutors are reportedly seeking the death penalty against Allen and her husband, 28-year-old John Michael Allen, who is due in court later this year, on August 7.
While both have pleaded not guilty, authorities say Ame’s tragic death came after years of abuse from several different relatives.
In fact, reports show that Ame was often forced to eat dog feces and hot sauce, crush aluminum cans with her feet, and even step inside the storage box on several different occasions.
The young girl was also physically beaten and thrown in a cold swimming pool multiple times as part of her family’s abusive punishments.
Although all of the children living in the home at the time were at risk, Ame was particularly singled out and treated harshly, police say.
“Several forensic interviews were conducted on relative children,” investigators wrote in court records. “The common theme is, Ame is bad, Ame lies, Ame steals, Ame is not allowed to play.”
Three other relatives, including one of Ame’s aunts, are already serving lengthy prison sentences for abusing the 10-year-old.
While there were no reports of child abuse in Ame’s case in Arizona, the young girl was listed as an abused child in Utah, where she and the rest of her family lived before relocating to Phoenix.
When Ame’s relatives were first interviewed about the murder, they reportedly all lied and told police that Ame had been playing a game of hide-and-seek.
The family said they couldn’t find Ame and didn’t see her inside the padlocked box until six or seven hours later.
Police say Ame’s mother left the family years ago after suffering years of abuse, but she did not take her daughter with her when she moved to Kansas alone.
David Deal, Ame’s biological father, is currently serving a 14-year sentence on attempted child abuse charges.
Cynthia Stoltzmann, Ame’s aunt and legal guardian, is now serving a 24-year sentence on child abuse charges.
Meanwhile, Ame’s grandmother, Judith Deal, is serving a 10-year prison sentence on a child abuse conviction, as well.