Father of girl in container death case facing child abuse charges

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Police have arrested Ame Deal's father on child abuse charges.

David Deal, 52, is facing four counts child abuse, three counts of kidnapping and dangerous crimes against children.

Ame Deal, 10, was reportedly found dead by family members on the morning of July 12, 2011.

They found Ame's body in a small box. Phoenix police responded to the residence near 35Th Avenue and Broadway and initially investigated the tragedy as a "death unknown."

A few weeks later Deal's death was ruled a homicide.

During the initial investigation, family members told police that Ame and the other children in the family had been playing hide and seek and they believed that Ame must have climbed into the box to hide and had accidentally suffocated. The child had been known to previously hide in other unique secluded locations around and in the residence.

Investigators developed more information in the days following the incident including knowledge of the adults in the family using confinement in the box as a form of punishment when Ame misbehaved.

Probable cause was developed and five adults entrusted with Ame's care were arrested.

John Allen and Samantha Allen, both 23, confessed to placing and pad locking Ame in the box on July 12th.

Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, admitted to previously confining the child in the box as punishment, as did Judith Deal, 62.

In February of 2012, Ammandea Stoltzmann was also arrested for child abuse.

The final suspect was arrested Friday night at his girlfriend’s apartment, near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road.

Detectives are alleging, through witnesses, that David Deal, Ame’s father, was the first to use confinement as punishment for Ame.

The confinement was said to have started with a dog kennel.

Detectives are also alleging that on several occasions between December of 2010 and July of 2011, David Deal locked Ame in the trunk as punishment.

On one occasion David Deal was said to have thrown the trunk, containing Ame, into the backyard swimming pool because she kept crying and yelling she could not breathe during the confinement.

The trunk was removed before it could sink.  

According to police, during David Deal's interview Friday night, he denied Ame was his child or that he abused her.

He described Ame as a "Pillsbury Doughboy looking thing" and said her mental problems frustrated others.

Police say David Deal is the sixth and final suspect in this case that investigators believe will be charged.