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Grandmother sentenced to life in prison for torture death of 8-year-old

CHICAGO — A Chicago grandmother was sentenced to life in prison in the strangulation death of her 8-year-old granddaughter.

Helen Ford was sentenced Wednesday by the same Cook County judge who convicted her of first-degree murder in Gizzell Ford's 2013 death. Prosecutors say the 275-pound grandmother also tortured and beat the 70-pound girl.

Gizzell's father, Andre Ford, also was charged with murder but died in jail awaiting trial.

Prosecutors allege Gizzell was dying of kidney failure even before she was strangled because her parents and grandmother denied her food and water.

An Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigator visited the home a month before Gizzell's death. A doctor also found a suspicious injury weeks before Gizzell died, but didn't report suspected abuse.