In July 2011, a 10-year-old American girl named Ame Lynn Deal was kil*led in Phoenix, Arizona. Deal had been ab*used by her family members for a long time before she was locked in a footlocker, where she died from suffocation.
Ame’s Early Life
Ame Lynn Deal was born on July 24, 2000, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Shirley Deal, was married to David Deal when she got pregnant.
Shirley says that she was seeing someone else at the time she got pregnant, so it is not known for sure if David Deal is Ame’s father. But Ame’s birth certificate says that her father is David Deal. Before Ame was born, Shirley and David already had two children. Shirley and David lived together until Shirley moved with her children to Donora, Pennsylvania, to stay with her mother.
Shirley and the kids eventually moved back in with David and his mother, Judith Deal, and sister, Cynthia Stoltzmann, in Midland, Texas. Shirley says that David’s family treated her like a slave, called her names, and hit her, but that they never hurt the kids. Shirley also says that her family kicked her out, and she moved to Iola, Kansas, without her children.
Neighbors said that Ame was ab*used often and that she was forced to walk back and forth on the sidewalk barefoot when it was very hot in Phoenix. At other times, they beat her with a paddle called the “Butt Buster” and made her eat hot sauce and dog poop. It was said that the punishment was for lying or stealing food.
The school said that Ame and her siblings were dirty when they came to school. People said that Ame had head lice often. The school staff said that Ame seemed to be the family’s scapegoat. Ame and the other kids were supposedly home-schooled while they lived in Phoenix.
David Deal, who might be Ame’s father, was said to live in a tent with his two other children in the backyard of the family’s rental home. Ame was the only child in the house who was treated poorly.
De*ath of Ame
On July 12, 2011, police went to the home of Ame Deal after 911 call and found her dea*d in a small footlocker. She had suffocated. Ame lived with her grandmother, Judith Deal, and her aunt and legal guardian, Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44. Cynthia Stoltzmann’s 23-year-old daughter Sammantha, her 23-year-old son-in-law John Allen, and at least twelve children also lived there.
The family first told the police that Ame had locked herself in the trunk while playing hide-and-seek the night before, after the adults had gone to bed. They all said that the next day, they found Ame dea*d in the trunk. Police thought that someone had hurt Ame because she was very dirty and had bruises on her left leg from being pushed against the trunk.
After being questioned for a while, Samantha and John Allen admitted that they punished Ame by locking her in the trunk because she took a popsicle without permission. People said that Ame was always hungry.
Ame, who was 4 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 59 pounds, had to be stuffed into a box that was only 3 feet long, 1 foot 2 inches wide, and a foot deep. Ame had to do jumping jacks, backbends, and run around for over an hour in 103-degree heat before she was put in the trunk. Then, a padlock was put on the trunk.
Ame’s family hurt her because they didn’t think she was one of them.
Trial and Sentencing
On July 27, 2011, Sammantha and John Allen were both charged with mu*rder. Judith Deal and Cynthia Stoltzmann were arrested for child ab*use and kidnapping because they both said they had locked Ame in the trunk at some point.
David Martin Deal was not charged with ki*lling his daughter, but on June 6, 2013, he was given a sentence after pleading g*uilty to attempted child ab*use.
David Martin Deal was sentenced to 14 years in pr*ison. Cynthia Stoltzmann was given a 24-year p*rison sentence. Judith Deal was given a sentence of 10 years in pri*son and probation for the rest of her life.
On August 7, 2017, Sammantha Allen was found gui*lty of first-degree murd*er and sentenced to d*eath by lethal injection. She was also given 74 years in pri*son for child ab*use and plotting to ab*use a child.