Aunt, grandmother sentenced in abuse of Phoenix girl found dead in footlocker


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on September 13, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 18 at 1:50 PM

PHOENIX -- The aunt of a 10-year-old Phoenix girl who authorities said died after another relative padlocked her in a footlocker has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Cynthia Stoltzmann, 45, also was sentenced Friday to lifetime probation. She pleaded guilty in April to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted child abuse.

Stoltzmann was accused of throwing her niece, Ame Deal, into a cold swimming pool several months before the girl's death and forcing her head underwater. She also was accused of once sitting on the footlocker while Ame was inside the box for stealing food.

Stoltzmann was Ame's legal guardian.

The girl's 74-year-old grandmother, Judith Deal, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison and lifetime probation. She pleaded guilty in April to attempted child abuse.

Deal was accused of putting hot sauce on Ame's mouth, hitting her with a paddle and putting her inside the footlocker as a form of discipline.

David Martin Deal, Ame's father, was sentenced in June to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse. He admitted putting her into a footlocker and throwing it into a pool about a year before her death.

They weren't charged in Ame's July 2011 death.

Ame's cousin and her husband, Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen and John Michael Allen, are charged with killing her. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against them.

Authorities said Ame died after John Allen locked her in a footlocker as discipline for taking a Popsicle without asking. She was left in the trunk all night and was found dead the next morning.