Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Chicago: A black grandmother accused of killing her 8-year-old granddaughter inflicted abuse for so long that the dead little girl had maggots living in a head wound that had gone untreated, police said in a shocking case
Helen M. Ford, 51, eventually strangled and beat Gizzell Kiara Ford to death, police say, ending weeks, maybe months, of systematic abuse. The black grandmother is being held on no bail and faces a murder charge. The details of the grisly and horrifying crime were unveiled by prosecutors who presented a disturbing case against the girl's caretaker and, police say, executioner. Police found the girl "cold" and dead when they responded to a call of a person not breathing. The girl lived with her grandmother and bedridden father, both of whom were home when the girl died. Ford initially told police that the girl inflicted the injuries herself, but police found several bruises, burns and cuts on her body, lying face up in a bedroom in the home. Some of the blunt force trauma happened so long ago that maggots had hatched in a head wound and moved to the front of the girl's scalp while she was still living, prosecutors said while detailing the case in court. The horrific list of abuse also included deep cuts on her buttocks, ligature marks on her ankles and wrists and possible cigarette burns on her body, prosecutors said. Ford kept the little girl away from her family and friends, Gizzell's uncle, Osvaldo Mercado, said. "Helen blocked everybody," Mercado, 30, said. "She would say, 'Gizzell can't talk - she's in the shower, or on punishment.' It was an excuse every time we called." Blood-splattered twine, cables and a pole were found in the girl's home during the investigation. Blood was found on the bedroom wall near where her body was found, prosecutors said.