Dad of girl in container death indicted, jailed on $250K bond

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

PHOENIX -- The father of the little Phoenix girl whose body was found in a small box last summer has been re-arrested and is behind bars this morning.

David Deal, 52, was first arrested Friday, but was released on his own recognizance after his initial appearance.

Monday afternoon, a grand jury indicted Deal on a felony child-abuse charge and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Officers picked him up Monday evening and he is now being held at Fourth Avenue Jail on $250,000 cash-only bond.

According to police, Deal had a U-Haul and was preparing to move when they took him into custody.

Deal's arrest comes nearly a year to the day after his 10-year-old daughter, Ame, was killed.

Relatives who were supposed to be caring for Ame found her dead inside a small box last July. Those relatives initially said Ame had been playing hide-and-seek with other kids and had made a habit of hiding in unusual, secluded and confined spaces. They claimed her death was an accident.

After a few weeks of investigation, police came to the conclusion that Ame's death was no accident and deemed it a homicide. The said Ame was placed in the container as punishment for taking a Popsicle from a freezer. Confinement in a box was a common punishment employed when it was thought that Ame misbehaved.

Detectives now believe that form of punishment was first employed by Ame's father. Witnesses said he put her in a dog kennel.

Investigators say Deal locked Ame in a trunk on several occasions Between December 2010 and July 2011. In one instance, he allegedly threw the trunk -- with Ame inside -- into the pool. She apparently was crying and saying she couldn't breathe. The trunk was retrieved before it sank.

According to police, Deal's denied Ame was his child or that he abused her during an interview with detectives after his first arrest.

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.

Five of Ame's relatives were already facing charges in connection with the little girl's death when Deal was taken into custody.

John Allen and Samantha Allen, both 23, confessed to placing and pad locking Ame in the box on July 12, 2011. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for both of them.

Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, admitted to previously confining the child in the box as punishment, as did Judith Deal, 62. Stoltzmann was Ame's aunt. Judith was her grandmother.

In February of 2012, Ammandea Stoltzmann, 24,  was also arrested for child abuse. Ammandea was Ame' cousin.

Deal, who also faces drug-related charges, is scheduled for arraignment on the count of child abuse on July 16. An arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint to a defendant.A preliminary hearing on the drug charges will take place on July 17.