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Child Abuse Cases in Phoenix
Phoenix Child Abuse
Jury selection began on Wednesday in one of the worst cases of child abuse and neglect reported in Phoenix. Nearly six years ago, 10-year-old Ame Deal was found dead inside a padlocked plastic storage box. The girl’s aunt and uncle were charged with first-degree murder and now the trial for one of them is about to get underway.
Police said the conditions Ame lived in were cruel — she endured a history of abuse and it was all under the hands of her relatives.
Ame’s cousin, 28-year-old Samantha Allen, faces several charges in the girl’s death, including four counts of child abuse, one count of conspiracy to commit child abuse and one count of first-degree murder.
Police say Allen padlocked the girl in the box to punish her for stealing a popsicle. Other adults in the home originally claimed Ame hid in the box during a game of hide and seek.
The box was less than three feet long, one foot wide and a foot deep. Ame stood about four feet tall and weighed nearly 60 pounds.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Allen and her husband, 28-year-old John Allen. Three other relatives, including an aunt who served as Ame’s legal guardian, and her father, are in prison serving sentences for abusing Ame.
Jury selection is expected to last two weeks. Opening statements begin May 30.
Tulsa Child Abuse Case
A Tulsa County jury has recommended a couple accused of child neglect in the 2016 death of a 2-year-old child to serve 30 years in prison.
On Monday, the jury acquitted 31-year-old Branden Taylor on a child abuse murder charge and found the toddler’s mother, 26-year-old Tina Morgan, not guilty of permitting child abuse. But both defendants remain in prison for child-neglect convictions.
Oklahoma State Medical Examiner Dr. Andrea Wiens testified in court last week that the child died due to blunt force trauma.
Assistant District Attorney Sarah McAmis said evidence shows Morgan and Taylor violated their duties as the child’s caretakers. McAmis alleged the defendants didn’t notice the child was dead until nearly 24 hours after he was injured.
Child Abuse in Arizona
Phoenix Child Abuse Cases
Three Phoenix daycare workers have been arrested after one allegedly hitting a child with a broom and two others interfered with the subsequent investigation.
Phoenix police said officers responded to the Brighter Angels Daycare Center near Central Avenue and Baseline Road on Feb. 17 for a report of an injured child.
When officers arrived on the scene they found evidence that 37-year-old Lillie Adams struck a 21-month-old child with a broom while she was cleaning with 10 toddlers in the room.
According to a police report, Adam was sweeping the room and accidentally knocked over a toy kitchen set. The victim crawled under a table and when he refused to move, the suspect allegedly hit the child in the face two times with the broom.
Police then arrested Perla Denise Sierra Duarte, 26, and Ruben Sandoval, 51, after both are accused of hindering prosecution and failing to accurately report the injury to police. Sierra Duarte is the director of the preschool, and Sandoval is the owner.
Catherine Masters’ sister has three kids enrolled at the daycare.
“They need to be put behind bars because this is just unacceptable,” Masters said. “They have no business hitting someone else’s child and they know better.”
According to a police spokesperson, there’s surveillance footage of Adams allegedly assaulting the child with the bristles of the broom.
The 21-month-old child was taken to a local hospital and his mother was notified of the incident.
Daycare employees told the victim’s mother that the child suffered a fall, however, after the child was hospitalized it was discovered that the injuries were inconsistent with their story.
Adams resigned from the daycare the day of the incident.
Adams was arrested and booked on one count of child abuse.
Family friends spoke out in defense of Adams Friday, saying that she wouldn’t do something to hurt a child.
“She is a very loving woman, to children, teens and adults,” said Christina Corral, a family friend. “These are false accusations, and I wish they would just go away.”
Corral says she thinks Adams was framed, and that the evidence will show her innocence as the case develops.
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