A child's grandmother should be one of the most loving, benign presences in a kid's life. But, sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case for poor 8-year-old Gizzell Ford, whose grandmother was arrested for her murder. Police also say that Gizzell was the victim of long-term abuse by her grandmother -- and suffered such horrific injuries as deep lacerations on her buttocks, possible cigarette burns on her wrists and ankles, and a head wound so deep and old that maggots were crawling in it. Reportedly, the girl was found in her bedroom after being strangled to death.
The girl's grandmother, 51-year-old Helen Ford, denies the charges and says she was about to bring Gizzell a sandwich when the girl stopped breathing. She claims her injuries were "self-inflicted" because the girl wanted her mother to come visit her. But authorities say otherwise, with the evidence pointing toward terrible and long-term abuse. She also had cuts all over her body and puncture wounds on her back, chest, and abdomen. Twine and cables found in the home had blood on them.
This sadly seems to be yet another case where every adult in this girl's life failed her miserably. Where was her mother? Apparently she did not live with her child. Gizzell's father reportedly lived in the home with his daughter and Helen Ford, but was "bed ridden" and obviously didn't do much to help Gizzell.
Neighbors expressed disbelief that the grandmother was capable of such cruelty, with one saying, "Nobody never seen the woman do nothing wrong around here."
However, relatives suspected something was wrong -- but apparently did nothing to stop it. Gizzell's uncle said, "Helen blocked everybody. She would say, 'Gizzell can't talk -- she's in the shower, or on punishment.' It was an excuse every time we called."
Really? And that didn't make you call the police? Gizzell's two brothers, ages 9 and 11, are now in foster care and the grandmother is charged with murder. But what of Gizzell? It sadly all comes too late for her.
Her uncle now says "We want answers," but what about asking questions when Gizzell was alive? I'm not blaming him, but someone needed to fight for this girl. Bang the door down and see what was happening. Demand to see her or threaten to call the police. Don't tell me bruises, cuts, and marks of this kind weren't visible.
Neighbors and relatives, pay attention to the children in your midst. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Have you ever suspected anyone of child abuse?
Image via Chicago Police