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article image10-year-old allegedly killed by family for taking a Popsicle

By Kim I. Hartman     Jul 30, 2011 in Crime
Phoenix - Phoenix Police have charged four people in the death of 10-year-old Ame Deal who is believed to have suffocated in a small locked box after family members allegedly put her in there as punishment for taking a Popsicle from the freezer without permission.
Police officers responded to a residence near 37th Avenue and Romely on July 12 after the body of young Ame Deal was allegedly found by family members who had searched for the child who family said 'came up missing' after a children's game of hide-and-seek, according to AZFamily.com.
Witnesses at the home, who were all related to the child, told investigating officers the girl must have crawled into the box, in an attempt to cleverly hide, then fell asleep and asphyxiated. They said they found her a few hours later.
AZFamily.com reports the box Ame Deal was found inside was "plastic with a hinge-top, 2-1/2 feet long by 1-1/2 feet wide and about a foot high."
Acting Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner and Police spokesperson Sergeant Trent Crump at a press brief...
Acting Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner and Police spokesperson Sergeant Trent Crump at a press briefing on the arrest of the four individuals responsible for the death of Ame Deal.
Phoenix Police Department
Police listed the cause of death as 'unknown' and said that they were told Deal had a history of hiding in "unique secluded locations in and around the residence," according to a public statement provided by the Phoenix Arizona Police Department.
Officers continued to investigate the mysterious death and said they learned the adults in the family had used the small box as a form of punishment to confine Ame Deal when she misbehaved.
AZFamily.com reported that Sgt. Trent Crump, Phoenix police spokesman said, the story was fabricated by family members to conceal the murder of the girl. The homicide investigators concluded "Ame was forced into the footlocker-type box as punishment for stealing a Popsicle from the refrigerator. The box was padlocked and she was left in it overnight at her home," according to Crump.
Acting Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said, “This truly is a tragedy—this is a bothersome crime."
"This child died at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for her…this case has turned the stomachs of some of our most seasoned detectives,” said Sgt. Crump.
The police statement said that Ame's cousin's husband John Allen, 23, stuffed the girl into the box. He was assisted by his wife, 23-year-old Samantha Allen. Both admitted to the police they had placed the child in the small box and padlocked it shut on July 12. The pair were charged with First Degree Murder, occurring during the commission of a crime, child abuse and kidnapping.
Police also arrested and charged Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, and Judith Deal, with kidnapping and child abuse. Both admitted to homicide investigators that they had previously confined the 10-year-old girl in the box as punishment when she was in trouble at home.
The four adults charged Thursday were living in tents in the backyard of the home where Ame Deal lived in Arizona. They are being held in the Maricopa County Jail.
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