Dad Sentenced for Abuse of Daughter But a Family Culture of Torture Led to Her Death

david martin deal They say abusive patterns are passed down through families. A father has been sentenced for abuse following the death of his 10-year-old daughter. But the dad, David Martin Deal, wasn't even the one who killed Ame Deal in Phoenix, Arizona. Other relatives (Ame's cousin and her husband, who pled not guilty) were accused of stuffing her into a footlocker, where she suffocated. But the girl's father has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempted child abuse from an incident a year earlier.

David says he put Ame in a plastic box and threw the box into a swimming pool -- A year before her death at the hands of her relative. Ame's then-legal guardian and aunt Cynthia Stoltzmann pleaded guilty for abusing Ame as well. In all, six family members were arrested in connection with Ame's death. Two plead not guilty. It sounds like poor Ame was surrounded by abusive adults and had nowhere to go.


Ame suffocated to death when she was put in a footlocker and left in the Arizona heat two years ago. Her crime: Taking a popsicle without asking. Meanwhile, her grandmother, Judith Deal, has been accused of putting hot sauce in Ame's mouth for punishment, hitting her with a paddle, and also shutting her up in the plastic footlocker as punishment. But police say the footlocker confinement discipline was started by her father, David.

This breaks my heart. The poor girl was surrounded by abusive adults. I bet the grandmother dealt out harsh punishments to her children, and they're just following her example. David's excuse was that Ame had mental problems that provoked her family members. He also once denied being Ame's father. Honestly, the girl never stood a chance. Where was child protection services? Why did she stay with her family after that other incident of abuse? Did no one look into the rest of her family?

What a sick family. I haven't even told you everthing else these people allegedly did to Ame. What do you do with such people? Lock them up, one by one, after they've already inflicted damage. How depressing. I guess you could say at least Ame is out of their reach now, but that's cold comfort. She deserved to live her life in peace, just like any other child.

Do you think Ame Deal's family members knew what they were doing was wrong?


Image via Maricopa County


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