|Ame Lynn Deal|
|Born||Ame Lynn Deal
July 24, 2000
|Died||July 12, 2011
|Known for||Child Abuse victim|
Ame Lynn Deal (July 24, 2000 – July 12, 2011) was a 10-year-old girl who died of suffocation in a 32-inch trunk outside her family's home in Phoenix, Arizona. Family members claimed she locked herself in the trunk while playing hide-and-seek, but authorities believe she died from abuse.
Ame Lynn Deal was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania on July 24, 2000, to Shirley Deal, who was married to David Deal at the time she conceived. According to Shirley, she was seeing another man during the time she conceived, therefore it is not known for sure if David Deal is the father of Ame. However, David Deal is listed as Ame's father on her birth certificate. Shirley and David had two other children together before Ame was born. Shirley and David were living together a while until Shirley and her children went to stay with her mother in Donora, Pennsylvania. Eventually Shirley and the children joined David again, where they lived in Midland, Texas together, with David's mother, Judith Deal and his sister, Cynthia Stoltzmann. Shirley claims while David's family made her a slave to them, called her names and hit her, they did not abuse the children. Shirley claims also that the family threw her out and she left without her children, relocating to Iola, Kansas.
Neighbors claimed that Ame was often abused and reported seeing Ame forced to walk back and forth on the sidewalk, barefoot, in extremely hot temperatures. On other times she was beaten with a paddle which they called the "Butt Buster". Other times she was forced to eat hot sauce and dog feces. Ame was also forced to sleep in the shower stall without bedding because she had wet her bed. The punishment, supposedly was all for lying or for stealing food.
The family had often moved and had lived in Pennsylvania, Utah, Texas and Tucson, Arizona among other places. When the family lived in Wisconsin, Child Protective Services were called because of the "disgusting conditions" of their residence.  Before the family moved to Phoenix, they were living in Ogden, Utah, where school officials claimed that they had reported many incidences of abuse and neglect to authorities, before they left Utah. School officials claimed that Ame and her siblings came to school filthy. They said Ame often had head lice and once had cat urine on her shoes. The school officials noted that Ame seemed to be the scapegoat of the family. Since living in Phoenix, Ame and the other children were supposedly being homeschooled.
A number of people who were living in tents in the family backyard were witnesses to the abuse. Along with her older sister Kassandrea Deal her husband Travis Naylor and their 2 children. Many of the other, 12 or more children, often slept in tents. David Deal, Ame's possible father was reported living in the back of the family rental home in a tent with his two other children, also. One of the witnesses said that another time, Cynthia's daughter, Samantha Allen, had put Ame in the trunk and afterwards, Samantha's husband, John Allen, threw the trunk around with Ame in it. Once a witness heard screams from the trunk and saw Cynthia sitting on it and using her laptop. A witness also said that Ame would clean up after the dogs and if she missed any of the dog feces, she would have to eat it. Once, the dog feces was rubbed on Ame's face. Of all the children living in the home, Ame was the only one abused.
Police claimed that the other children would instigate situations to get Ame in trouble. The children were also persuaded to lie about why and how Ame ended up in the trunk to the police. When asked why Ame was treated so badly, it was said: "she was mentally a little slow, but that's it." Witnesses also said the children were often seen wandering the streets until very late at night, with hardly any clothes on. On occasions they were without diapers or shoes. One neighbor said he saw babies in highchairs eating in front, outside of the house, late at night.
On July 12, 2011, police officers were called to Ame Deal's home, where she was found dead in a small foot locker, having suffocated. Ame had been living with her grandmother, Judith Deal, and Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, the aunt and legal guardian of Ame. Also living there were Cynthia Stoltzmann's daughter, Samantha and her son-in-law, John Allen, both 23, and 12 or more children. The family first told the police officers that Ame was playing hide-n-seek and locked herself in the trunk the night before, after the adults went to sleep. They all claimed they found Ame dead the next day, in the trunk. Police suspected foul play since Ame was found very dirty with bruises on her left leg, since it was in forced contact with the trunk. After being interrogated a while, Samantha and John Allen confessed to locking Ame in the trunk, as a form of punishment, because she took a popsicle without permission. Ame was said to be "chronically hungry".
Ame, who was 4 feet, 2 inches and 59 pounds had to be squeezed into the trunk since its dimensions were only 3 feet X 1 foot 2 inches and a foot deep. Before Ame was squeezed in the trunk, she was forced to do jumping jacks, backbends and run around in 103 degree heat for over an hour. Then the trunk was padlocked. David and his family members all claimed that Ame is not his daughter. Police claimed the family abused Ame because they did not believe she was a blood relative.
Both Samantha and John Allen were arrested for murder on July 27, 2011. Judith Deal and Cynthia Stoltzmann were arrested for child abuse and kidnapping, since they both admitted that in the past they too, had locked Ame in the trunk. Samantha and John Allen's bonds were both set at $1 million. Cynthia Stoltzmann and her mother's bond were each set at $500,000. A few days after the arrests, David Deal asked various friends and family for money to bail his mother, Judith Deal and his sister, Cynthia Stoltzmann out of jail. The other children were taken to be placed by Child Protective Services. David Martin Deal was not charged in the death of his daughter, but was sentenced on June 6, 2013 after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse.
On August 10, 2011, in Maricopa County, Arizona, Judith Deal, Cynthia Stoltzmann and the Allens were formally indicted. Judith Deal and Cynthia Stoltzmann were charged with numerous counts of child abuse. John and Samantha Allen were charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit child abuse and many counts of child abuse. The arraignment hearing was set for August 17. The trial date has been set for Spring 2016, according to court documents. Prosecutors say they intend to seek the death penalty.
David Martin Deal pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse and was sentenced to 14 years in prison on July 6, 2013. Cynthia Stoltzmann pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted child abuse. On September 13, 2013, she was sentenced to 24 years in prison and given a lifetime of probation. Judith Deal also pleaded guilty to attempted child abuse, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, plus a lifetime of probation.  The trial for Samantha and John Allen was due to start in June 2014 but was postponed until 2015 to give more time for the prosecution and defense to prepare their cases.  As of December 2015, according to court documents, the trial has been postponed yet again, this time to Spring 2016.
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- "4 Adult Relatives Indicted in Death of 10-Year-Old Ame Deal". myfoxphoenix.com. August 10, 2011.
- "David Deal, Arizona Dad, Sentenced For Abuse In Case Of Child Stuffed In Trunk". Huffington Post. July 6, 2013.
- "Ame Deal update: Cynthia Stoltzmann, Judith Deal sentenced in Phoenix abuse". abc15.com. September 13, 2013.