Helen Ford, 55, a Chicago grandmother, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her granddaughter Gizzall Ford,8, who was severely abused. Gizzall Ford documented her own abuse in her diary that was found at the time of her death. The little girl wrote about being afraid, that she could never please her grandmother or father, that she did everything wrong and how she tried hard to be good,

The girl suffered horrendous abuse in her short life and was found in her Chicago apartment, barely breathing. She had been denied, water, food, use of the bathroom, beat, strangled and was infested with maggots in her all her wounds including her scalp.

Just days before her death she wrote in her diary, "I hate this life because I'm in super trouble."

At the time of her death, Andre Ford, her father who was residing in the home when she died was charged also. Andre Ford who was disabled. It is believed that Andre Ford who was bedridden and suffering from scleroderma. Scleroderma is a rare condition the causes the hardening of the skin and connected tissue making it hard to move around.

Prosecutors believe that Andre Ford ordered his mother to torture her. While awaiting trial for the death of his daughter Andre Ford, 29, died from a heart attack in jail, according to authorities.


Gizzall Ford was in third grade at the time of her death. The little recorded in her diary the abuse from grandmother and that she was afraid and aware she was in trouble.

Numerous entries in her diary documented the abuse. There were times that she was forced to squat hours on end, denied food, beaten with objects, and sometimes forced to drink her own urine for wetting the bed.

In her diary, she wrote," I know if I am good and do everything I'm told I won't have to do a punishment. I hate this life because now I'm in super trouble."

Andre Ford also recorded some of the abuse that his daughter endured on a cell phone.

On the video you Andre Ford is yelling at his daughter to do squats and that she was being defiant, not listening to him. Andre Ford continued to state," She says she wants me to kill her. She also says she wants to kill herself," Ford stated.

In another video made by her father, it shows the girl being forced to do hours of squats with a sock shoved in her mouth.

That way no one could her hear her crying.

When paramedics were finally called Helen Ford tried blocking them from entering the apartment. Paramedics found Gizzall in her father's bed, strangled, covered in blood, her body covered in old and new bruises and maggots in her wounds. Paramedics tried to save her.

According to Paramedic Katie Hoppenrath, Andre Ford was sitting in his bed that was covered in his daughter's blood like it was no big deal. Andre Ford was sitting just sitting there using his laptop in his underwear. Sitting there while his daughter was dying like it was no big deal.

Illinois Department Of Children and Family Serves were involved with the Ford family at the time of the young girl's death.

Just one month prior to Gizzall Ford's death, Child and Family services visited the home on allegations of sexual abuse by Helen Ford's boyfriend. The abuse was ignored by the department and did not report the abuse to supervisors and did not remove the girl from the home.The workers and supervisor involved in the case were left go from the department. In the home at the time were two other children in the home.

Evil Grandmother's Trial

Helen Ford denied abusing her granddaughter during her trial. Helen Ford stated," I never treated my granddaughter any different than anybody else," Ford said. Ford's family who attained the trial defended Ford saying she was a nice person.

The attorney representing Helen Ford, Jennifer Hodel, stated," Helen never said no because she put her family first."

Judge Evelyn Clay who resided all throughout the trial stated," No, Helen Ford knew how to say no to Gizzell.

No food, no water, no sleep, no praise. She did not know how to say yes to Gizzall," Clay said. Judge Clay sentenced Helen Ford to life in prison for the death of her granddaughter.

The victim's mother Sandra Mercado had also tried getting custody of her daughter back months before her death and was denied. She had placed her daughter with Andre and Helen Ford because she became homeless and thought her daughter would be safe with them. As time went by she began to be concerned about her daughters well being.

The Judge Lionel Jean- Baptiste who heard the custody case denied her request.