Grandmother charged with girl’s murder; Report details horrific conditions

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A Chicago woman is charged with viciously beating and strangling her 8-year old granddaughter.

A judge denied bond for Helen Ford, 51, Saturday morning. Gizzell Ford was found dead Friday in her home in the 5200 block of W. Adams. Her paternal grandmother was the primary care giver and her father is bed-ridden, prosecutors said.

Gizzell had bruises, burn marks, puncture wounds, and lacerations all over her body. Maggots hatched in untreated lacerations in her head, while she was still alive, prosecutors said. Police recovered evidence from the home including a pole, twine, and cables, some of which had blood on them.

Relatives on Gizzell’s mother’s side say her father was granted custody in November.  Gizzell’s aunt, Frances Mercado, says the family notified the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services  several times while they tried to regain custody of the child.

“The way they left her and killed her, they could have given her away to anybody and not destroyed her the way they did,” says Mercado.

A spokesperson for DCFS says the agency was not involved in the child custody case and has no record of prior abuse allegations involving Gizzell. Following her death, DCFS launched investigations into allegations of neglect and abuse against Gizzell’s father and her grandmother, Helen Ford. Two siblings in the home were placed into protective custody.

Relatives say Gizzell was very smart and loved to read. The 8-year old weighed only 30 pounds when she died, Mercado said.

The family is asking for donations to help with funeral expenses. For more information, log on to

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  • Caring

    Wow can’t believe how a grandmother can do something so horrible to her grandchild!! I have two grandchildren living with me and I would never in a million years do anything to hurt them!! If you can’t handle a child get help!! Prayers go out to the to siblings of hers. And for the little girl GOD has you in his arms!

  • ProudMommy

    Strangers, mothers,, fathers, daycare providers, and top it off with grandmothers now…how unspeakably sad. This is why I support abortions, as sad as that my sound it's so much less painful to go forward with an abortion, then have an unwanted and unloved child bought into this world and hurt them so badly like that. Poor little Angel my she rest in peace and finally feel the love and happiness she deserves in Heaven

    • Michael

      She may not have been unwanted at the time. I do not know the circumstances at the time of her birth…nor am I aware of what is happening with her father. I wonder who knew and said nothing? That happens more often than people want to admit. But, to say that she would have been better off being aborted is a horrible thing to say.

      • stacie

        Had she been aborted she would have never suffered this horrible pain.Better to have given her back to god in the beginning than let her suffer so much pain for so long.So I can understand the statement concerning abortion.Either way she's home and happy now.We don't know if she ever felt what it was to be loved,protected,and cared for.To never have that or to have it taken away is pain in it's self.I would have rather she never felt a moments pain.

  • Tired of wa$te

    This is so unbelievably sad. May little Gizzell rest in peace in His loving arms. I know God will take care of this piece of garbage called a grandmother (NOTHING grand about her) in His time. Such a disturbing story, I really cannot comprehend how someone could act like such a monster.

  • esco

    I got a sick feeling reading that. WTF is wrong with this freakin' lady? This Grandmother is a Grandmonster in my eyes. Off with her head!!!

  • Alan

    This worthless piece of garbage should be made to suffer such an excruciating death that she begs to die. That poor child didn't deserve that life….

  • angry

    what I don't understand is how someone can treat a child in such a disgusting manner. If you didn't want to take care of her you could've dropped her off at a hospital,church, etc. She deserves to be beaten and then leave her wounds untreated for things to fester in them too. This woman is a waste to society!

  • annoymous

    This really sickens me. Prayers go out to her siblings. She is in wonderful arms now.
    I don't understand how anyone can kill a child. There are so many families that want children that can not have them. This wonderful girl should have been in a different home. I wonder how the schools and people around her never noticed anything.

    • Michael

      Did you read the article? DCFS was not involved in the custody case. Perhaps blame neighbors or school personnel or other family members for not reporting that this was happening. DCFS does not have mobile crews driving around looking for cases….the case needs to be reported to them.

      • Angela

        The childs family did report the abuse several times,,,did you even read the article??? DCFS did nothing either because to many case loads or it was reported to a worker who wasn't doing they're job!!!

      • babbs

        DCFS had NO records of any "calls". I find it hard to believe in the o so sudden shock of the mother's family. The mother's family saw nothing wrong with an 8yr old weighing 30lbs?? Did they not SEE this child they were so concerned about ?

      • renetta strong

        well if the story is to be believed the aunt said she reported it to dcfs and it was ignored….of course dcfs would deny any knowledge of this said report they want this childs blood on their hands. and i do blame society becasue i find it hard to believe that no witness this girls condition until she was dead…

  • Deb

    Look at the list of injuries. This wasn't something that just happened. I hope this precious child found some love somewhere in her life. She sure as hell didn't get any while living with this trash.

  • renetta strong

    she allowed maggots to infest in an open wound in this childs head…somebody had to see this which is the primary problem children are considered property which means people do not consider how they are being treated much too abuse like this goes on and no one says a word…this makes me so sick

  • Daniel

    And they have some nerve asking for money to bury the child. Cleary they were not involved at all if DCFS has no record of abuse. Every person involved should be held accountable because it is neglect. Simple as that.

  • Hannah

    Why didn't the family just take the child by force? If they cared, they would have done whatever was necessary to protect her. So sad.

  • Erwin Doogle

    I'll give you a hint. Take out the "s".

    Such a horribly sad story. I also think that people must have known and done nothing for this poor sweet baby. I hope all involved get what's coming to them one way or another.

  • Beth

    This story is beyond sick. I am a grandmother myself and I would jump in front of the amtrak for those children. How did a monster like this function in the real world anyway and where was the family. Maggots in her head? Poor thing….