“I hate this life.”
It wasn’t a tantrum. It was a cry for help from a child with nowhere to turn. Eight-year-old Gizzell Ford of Chicago was living a nightmare with no one to hear her except her diary.
Last week in a Chicago courtroom, more than three years after Gizzell’s death, the diary started talking. In a bench trial, where no jury is required, a judge convicted Helen Ford, Gizzell’s grandmother, of first-degree murder.
Gizzell chronicled her life of abuse, finally writing “I hate this life” on July 11, 2013, only two days before being beaten and strangled by a grandmother who wore a belt around her neck for “punishing” the little girl.
Gizzell was brutally murdered by her grandmother on July 13, 2013, after weeks of abuse and torture, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Denied food and water, she was forced to do military-style squats for infractions such as trying to sneak a drink of water from the toilet.
Police found the girl, weighing only 70 pounds, beaten from head to toe, with an open, maggot-infested wound on the back of her head. She had been strangled to death after days tied to a bed.
“This murder was torture. That child suffered a slow and agonizing death,” said Cook County Circuit Judge Evelyn Clay, according to The Associated Press. “That little body looked like it had been pulverized from head to toe … her treatment was evil.”
A month before Gizzell was killed, the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services performed a home visit and ignored clear signs of abuse, according to a lawsuit originally brought by the girl’s family.
Before being given to the custody of her father, who died in prison in 2014, Gizzell had been allegedly living happily with her mother, an infant sibling and grandfather.
The lawsuit has been dropped but will be re-filed, against only the pediatrician who examined Gizzell weeks before her death and allegedly did not report suspicious injuries, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The maximum punishment for Helen Ford is life in prison without parole, which seems a shame. Even in a jail cell, Helen Ford’s life will be so much better than little Gizzell had.
Everyone failed this child. Her family. The courts. DCFS. A pediatrician.
In the end, only her diary spoke for her. It didn’t save her life, but it brought some amount of justice.
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H/T U.K. Daily Mail