COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The grandmother of an 8-year-old girl found strangled and beaten to death Friday has been charged with murder and ordered held without bail.
Authorities Sunday charged Helen Ford, 51, of the 5200 block of West Adams Street, with first-degree murder in the death of Gizzell Ford.
Gizzell was found dead in her Austin home, strangled and hit several times, an autopsy released Saturday found.
Paramedics responded to a call of a person not breathing about 11 a.m. Friday at the girl's home in the 5200 block of West Adams Street, Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Pillbury said in bond court Sunday.
When paramedics arrived, the girl was dead, Pillsbury said.
Pillsbury said paramedics found Gizzell with multiple bruises across her entire "cold" body. Gizzell's bed-ridden father was also home at the time, Pillsbury said, and was incapable of inflicting injuries on the girl. Ford was the only other person home at the time and said she was the only one taking care of the girl, according to Pillsbury.
In the courtroom, Ford shook her head and cried as Pillsbury read the account.
Pillsbury said the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office determined Gizzell suffered blunt-force trauma to her head; lacerations to her face, ears and lips; multiple bruises and puncture wounds; bruising and fractures to the front and back of her head, as well as broken cartiledge in her neck; burn marks consistent with cigarettes; hair removed in certain parts of her head. Her injuries were both old and new, Pillsbury said. The medical examiner's office said maggots were found growing in the girl's lacerations.
Pillsbury said police recovered a pole, twine and cables from the home, some of which had blood on them.
Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Ford held without bail.
- Kyla Gardner contributed reporting