The Crusader Newspaper Group

Grandmother found guilty of murder in death of brutally abused granddaughter, 8

By Joe Vince,

A judge found a West Side grandmother guilty of murder Thursday after a bench trial determined that her 8-year-old granddaughter had died almost four years ago from the severe and brutal abuse caused by the woman and the girl’s late father, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The body of Gizzell Ford was discovered by paramedics July 23, 2013, in the Austin neighborhood home where she lived with her grandmother, Helen Ford, and her dad, Andre Ford, the report stated. Gizzell was covered in bruises, scratches and cuts when she was found, and there were indications maggots had been crawling on the straight-A student’s body, the report added.

In arriving at her verdict, Judge Evelyn Clay found “exceeding overwhelming evidence” that Helen Ford, 55, was to blame for Gizzell’s death, the report stated. Andre Ford died in jail awaiting trial, the report added.

Gizzel was living with her dad and grandmaother after Andre Ford had been given custody of his daughter by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the report stated. But the girl’s mother, Sandra Mercado, had been fighting to get her daughter back at the time of the 8-year-old’s death, the report added.

Now, Mercado is suing the state, and she accuses the DCFS of overlooking signs of abuse when a caseworker visited the girl while she was living with Andre Ford and Helen Ford, according to the report.

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