Family sues DCFS over 8-year-old’s death

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Family members of a girl who was found dead last summer from abuse have filed suit against the Dept of Children and Family Services.

While in the custody of her father and paternal grandmother, 8-year-old Gizzell Ford was strangled and beaten in her South Austin home on July 12, 2013. Her grandmother, 51-year-old Helen Ford and Gizzell’s father Andre Ford, were charged with her murder.

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.

Gizzell’s mother and maternal grandfather filed the suit today contending Gizzell’s could have been prevented, “particularly if DCFS and its investigators who had visited the decrepit and garbage-strewn home … and examined Gizzell just weeks before her tragic death, had reported the visible instances of abuse and uninhabitable conditions,” their attorneys said in a statement.

“All of the warning signs pointed that something was very wrong in this household and indicated that Gizzy was being abused on a regular basis. Because DCFS sat idle while Gizzy was fighting for her life, she lost the battle,” the statement said.


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