PHOENIX, July 30 (UPI) — An Iola, Kan., woman says she was mortified to read about the death a 10-year-old daughter she left behind after fleeing an abusive relationship.
Shirley Deal said she fled an abusive household in Midland, Texas, several years ago, leaving behind her daughter Ame, who was found dead July 12, stuffed into a small footlocker in Phoenix, The Arizona Republic reported.
Deal, 38, who didn’t say why she didn’t take the child with her when she fled, said a friend directed her to an online report in the Arizona Republic, describing her daughter’s death.
“I read the newspaper, and it made me so upset,” Deal said. “They just need to go to jail for life or get lethal injection. That’s what they need because of what they did to my 10-year-old baby.”
Four people were arrested in Ame’s death, which police have said is a homicide; Deal said she knows three of the suspects. By all accounts, Ame was regularly abused and lived in a trash-strewn household with several adults and a dozen other children.
Phoenix police arrested John Allen, and his wife, Sammantha, both 23, and Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, and Judith Deal, 72. The Allens were expected to be charged with first-degree murder; the other two face kidnapping and child-abuse charges.
The entire group lived in a Phoenix house rented to David Deal, 51, who is listed as Ame’s father on her birth certificate.
Investigators said the Allens stuffed the 59-pound girl into a small footlocker after she took a frozen treat from the refrigerator. The footlocker was then padlocked and the Allens feel asleep; Ame was found dead the next morning.
Shirley Deal said she was “honestly unsure” if Ame was the daughter of her former husband, David, who she married in Punxsutawney, Pa., in 1996. Deal said she was having a relationship with another man when Ame was conceived.
The Deals have three children, a son, now 13, and another daughter, now 12, and Ame, who was 10.