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Family Abuses And Kills 10-Year-Old Ame Deal For Taking A Popsicle

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It always seems like horrific stories like these come in waves, and after the death of Leiby Kletzy, I watched my street wondering how many child murders I may have unknowingly shared a subway ride with or walked along side in the park. The recent and awful death of Ame Deal, however, reveals that sometimes those capable of hurting children can be one’s own family.

Ten-year-old Ame Deal was found dead in a box after family members insisted that she had crawled inside during a game of hide and seek. Later, Ame’s extended family came forward to investigators saying that the plastic box was often used to abuse Ame. The little girl was subject to all kinds of torture and cruelty in the months leading up to her horrific death. Ame’s guardians ultimately placed her into the box for taking a popsicle without asking permission. Daily Mail reports:

Ame Deal had been shut in the plastic container many times before by her supposed guardians, who would throw the box around with her inside, records show. She was made to walk barefoot outside in the searing heat, had to eat dog faeces and was often was forced to sleep in the shower as punishment for wetting the bed…On the day she died, Ame was forced to do backbends and run around in the 103 degree heat outside before being locked inside the box by John as his wife stood by. Sweating profusely, she was then squeezed into the footlocker, which was padlocked shut. Ame, who was four feet, two inches tall, suffocated inside the box, which was 14 inches wide, about a foot deep and less than three feet long, as the Allens slept. Police said when the girl was found her clothes were soiled and she had marks on her right knee caused by ‘forceful contact’ with the box’s lid.

What’s even more nasuating about Ame’s death is that court records indicated that there was already a history of abuse at the home. Since Ame’s death, the other children in the home have been removed by Child Protective Services. But neighbors told police that they often heard screaming and other family members were fully aware that Ame was being abused. Daily Mail reports that other family members didn’t protect Ame by telling authorities for fear of “breaking the family apart.”

Given how powerless children are in situations of abuse, it’s up to the adults who have the awareness and capability to contact authorities– and to act quickly. Children don’t have the resources to change their circumstances, but neighboring adults who sense that something is wrong do. Making the initiative to remove a child from an abusive home can save their life, as sadly those who knew of Ame’s abuse failed to do.