Gizzell Kiara Ford is described as an outgoing 8-year-old girl. She was smart, friendly and her young life was allegedly taken away from her on July 12 by someone she should have been able to trust; her grandmother, Helen Ford.
Police were called to Ford's appartment, that she also shares with Gizzell's bed-ridden father, after receiving a call that a child stopped breathing. What police found was a dead child who had suffered from long-term, horrific abuse at the hands of Ford, 51.
Ford kept Gizzell secluded and did not allow friends and family to contact her or see her. Osvaldo J. Mercado, Gizzell's uncle tells Chicago Tribune Ford always had an excuse to keep them at bay: "Gizzell can't talk, she's in the shower or on punishment. It was an excuse every time we called."
"We want justice and we want answers."
While keeping the girl out of sight, Ford was allegedly hitting, cutting and burning Gizzell with cigarrettes. Ford is accused choking the girl and tying her up. Gizzelle had a head injury infested with maggots after being left untreated. Her entire body was covered with injuries, old and new.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services have been investigating Ford as well as Gizzell's father. Gizzell's brothers, ages 9 and 12 have been removed from the home. It is not known if the boys suffered from abuse as well.
Ford originally told investigators that Gizzell's injuries were self-inflicted, a claim that was quickly debunked. She also claimed that the girl told her that her mother's boyfriend had abused her.
On her last day of life, Ford told police Gizell had asked for a pb&j sandwich but couldn't eat it, saying she was "sore". She says the girl stopped breathing after drinking some water.
Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Pillsbury says investigators have removed a pole and blood-spattered cables from the home.
Ford has ordered to be held without bail, in the strangulation death of her 8-year-old granddaughter.
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