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2 relatives sentenced in fatal abuse of Phoenix girl

PHOENIX -- The grandmother and aunt of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who authorities said died after another relative padlocked her in a small plastic trunk both were sentenced to prison Friday.

Cynthia Stoltzmann, who was Ame Deal's aunt and legal guardian, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and lifetime probation.

Judith Deal, the child's 74-year-old paternal grandmother, was given a 10-year prison term with lifetime probation.

Stoltzmann, 45, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted child abuse while Judith Deal pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse that same month.

Authorities said Ame Deal died in July 2011 after a man who's married to the girl's cousin padlocked her in the trunk as discipline for having stolen popsicles.

She was left in the footlocker all night and was found dead the next morning at the Phoenix home where her relatives lived.

Authorities said the footlocker was less than 3 feet long, less than a foot wide and a foot deep while the 10-year-old girl was about 4 feet tall and weighed nearly 60 pounds.

Ame Deal was treated more harshly than other children at the home and her family members characterized her as a liar and a thief, according to investigators.

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

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

Investigators say family members heaped a range of abuse on the girl from 2005 until her death including kicking her in the face while she was on the ground, forcing her to eat dog feces, making her crush aluminum cans with bare feet and scrubbing her face with a wire brush.

Six of Ame Deal's relatives originally faced charges in the case including her father David Deal, who was sentenced in June to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse.

David Deal's cousin Sammantha Lucille Rebecca Allen and her husband, John Michael Allen, are charged with first-degree murder in the girl's death.

Both 24-year-olds have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial with prosecutors saying they're seeking the death penalty.

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