PHOENIX — The grandmother and aunt of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who
authorities said died after another relative padlocked her in a small plastic
trunk both were sentenced to prison Friday.
Cynthia Stoltzmann, who was Ame Deal’s aunt and legal guardian, was sentenced
to 24 years in prison and lifetime probation.
Judith Deal, the child’s 74-year-old paternal grandmother, was given a 10-year
prison term with lifetime probation.
Stoltzmann, 45, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of child abuse and one
count of attempted child abuse while Judith Deal pleaded guilty to attempted
child abuse that same month.
Authorities said Ame Deal died in July 2011 after a man who’s married to the
girl’s cousin padlocked her in the trunk as discipline for having stolen
She was left in the footlocker all night and was found dead the next morning at
the Phoenix home where her relatives lived.
Authorities said the footlocker was less than 3 feet long, less than a foot
wide and a foot deep while the 10-year-old girl was about 4 feet tall and
weighed nearly 60 pounds.
Ame Deal was treated more harshly than other children at the home and her
family members characterized her as a liar and a thief, according to
Stoltzmann was accused of throwing the child into a cold swimming pool several
months before the girl’s death and forcing her head underwater and accused of
once sitting on the footlocker while Ame Deal was inside the box for stealing
Judith Deal was accused of putting hot sauce on the child’s mouth, hitting her
with a wooden paddle and putting her inside the footlocker as a form of
Investigators say family members heaped a range of abuse on the girl from 2005
until her death including kicking her in the face while she was on the ground,
forcing her to eat dog feces, making her crush aluminum cans with bare feet and
scrubbing her face with a wire brush.
Six of Ame Deal’s relatives originally faced charges in the case including her
father David Deal, who was sentenced in June to 14 years in prison after
pleading guilty to attempted child abuse.
David Deal’s cousin Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen and her husband, John
Michael Allen, are charged with first-degree murder in the girl’s death.
Both 24-year-olds have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial with
prosecutors saying they’re seeking the death penalty.