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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.

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