Editor's note: Sammantha Allen was sentenced to die Monday for her role in killing 10-year-old Ame Deal. This story first appeared in 2011.
We got our hands on the arrest reports for the four monsters charged with the torture and murder of 10-year-old Ame Deal, who suffocated after she was locked in a footlocker and left overnight by family members earlier this month.
If you ever want to smile again, stop reading right now — it's one of the most horrendous tales of child abuse we've ever seen.
When asked if he's ever seen anything more horrific than what happened to Ame, Phoenix Sergeant Trent Crump tells New Times "simply put, no. It makes you sick to your stomach."
Sadly, getting locked in a 14-inch-wide by 12-inch-tall footlocker was a frequent occurrence for the 10-year-old girl — and it was probably a welcome break from the other abuse she suffered.
Adding to the utter disgust of the crime: the girl died for taking a Popsicle on a hot July day.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, the abuse of Ame includes frequently getting locked in the footlocker, being forced to eat dog feces, getting beaten with a wooden paddle her family referred to as a "butt buster," being forced to sleep in a shower stall with no pillow or blankets, getting forced to do "back bends" for hours, and having hot sauce shoved in her mouth.
All of the aforementioned abuse was "punishment" for doing things like "lying" and stealing food.
Deal was one of about 12 children living in a filthy house near 35th Avenue and Broadway Road in Phoenix under the guardianship of her grandmother, 62-year-old Judith Deal, her aunt, Cynthia Stolzmann, and her cousin and her husband, John and Samantha Allen, each 23.
According to court documents, Ame was the only of the 12 children who was tortured by the family, and the other children would intentionally do things to get Deal in trouble.
The Allens have been charged with first-degree murder because they admittedly locked Deal in the footlocker the night she died because she took a Popsicle without asking. Judith Deal and Stolzmann were each booked on charges of kidnapping and child abuse after admitting to police they'd locked the girl in the trunk in the past.
Initially, the death was made to look like an accident. The family told police Ame was playing hide-and-seek when she must have fallen asleep inside the footlocker. Everyone had gone to sleep and forgotten about her, they said.
The family even coached the other children on how to lie to police
However, also living on the property were several people who lived in tents in the backyard of the disgusting home. After Ame's body was found, several people living in the backyard told police about the abuse.
According to one witness, he listened one night as Stolzmann was screaming at Ame while she was in her "bedroom"/shower stall. She was beating Ame because she had "wetted herself."
Other witnesses watched Samantha Allen put Ame in the footlocker as John Allen would kick it and pick it up and flip it over with Ame inside.
When Ame was picking up dog feces in the yard one day, she missed some. Stolzmann, witnesses say, forced her to eat the excrement as punishment.
On the night of her death, John Allen admitted to forcing Ame to position herself in a "back bend" (her hands and feet were on the floor with her back arched up) for over two hours after she "stole" a Popsicle. When she would fall, he says he physically put her back into position.
After the two hours of "back bends," Allen told Ame to go outside and get the footlocker. When she returned, he put her inside. Concerned she might be able to get out, he locked it with a padlock. Then he went to sleep. In the morning, Ame was found dead inside the box.