Girl, 8, found dead in home: then police find journal that reveals the shocking truth

This is the story of Gizzell Ford, a young girl with a big heart and even bigger dreams. It’s a story that everyone should read; unfortunately her story is true.

This story also represents the thousands of children that are forced to suffer every day at the hands of those who are supposed to love, protect and keep them safe.

For Gizzell, it did not end well, but I hope her story may be a wake up call, so no more children have to face the same fate.

Like many other children, eight-year-old Gizzell Ford was a happy, curious and smart little girl. She loved school and was good at making new friends.

Gizzy, as she was known to her friends, wrote in a rainbow-striped journal, but the pages in her diary were not adorned by the innocent tales of most children her age. The truth revealed in Gizzell’s diary was one that uncovered shocking events and a heartbreaking tragedy.

On July 12, 2013, Gizzell or “Gizzy” was found dead in her grandmother’s dirty  and vermin-infested apartment in Austin, Texas. She had been beaten and strangled and her hands and ankles showed signs that she had been bound. There was a wound in the back of her head that was infested with maggots, according to the  Chicago Tribune.

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Gizzy had lived in an apartment with her father Andre Ford, who was bedridden, and her grandmother.

Her grandmother Helen Ford was the one who took care of the whole family, and from the outside it looked like a regular and loving family. But the pages of Gizzy’s journal told a different story.

Punished daily

Between her journal and video footage captured on her father’s cellphone, Gizzell endured a painful and unloving existence where she was forced to do squats as a punishment, stand for hours on a daily basis and was often deprived of food and water. If she made any noise a sock was forced into her mouth to keep her quiet.

On July 11, 2013, she wrote her last entry: “I hate this life because now I’m in super big trouble.”

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Despite the hell she experienced on a daily basis, she still wrote about her hopes and dreams and what made her happy in life such as her love of school and jump rope.

“I am going to be a beautiful smart and good young lady,” she wrote in 2013. “People say I’m smart and courageous and beautiful.”

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“Slow and agonizing death”

Her father died of a chronic illness before he could be tried in court but in prosecuting her 55-year-old grandmother,Judge Evelyn Clay did not even try to hide her outrage at the abuse she had inflicted on her granddaughter.

“This murder was torture,” Clay said, according to a report in “That child suffered a slow and agonizing death. That little body looked like it had been pulverized from head to toe. Her treatment of this child was evil.”


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According to the  Chicago Tribune  Gizzy’s once beautiful handwriting in the journal had turned into a  “jagged scrawl” indicating a sense of fear.

The court heard that this beautiful young girl had been let down by the legal system. A Family Services investigator had visited Gizzell’s home about a month before her death but did not take action. And a child-abuse doctor examined the girl but never reported a suspicious injury he observed, the court heard.

Her grandmother Helen was sentenced to life in prison for murder.

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Please share this tragic story to highlight those children that the system should protect and as a tribute to what this brave and smart young girl had to suffer.

May you rest in peace Gizzell, no longer hurt by those you trusted.